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PlexusCalls - Is Murder Contagious?
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When: Friday, June 28, 2013
From 1:00 PM until 2:00 PM
Contact: Prucia Buscell

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Friday, June 28, 2013 - 1-2 PM E
Is Murder Contagious?
Guests: April Zeoli and Caroline Nicholl

MP3 File


April Zeoli led team of researchers at Michigan State University that studied the 2,366 homicides in Newark NJ between 1982 and 2008. In one of the first studies of its kind, the team used analytical software from the field of medical geography to track long term homicide trends. They found the killings followed a pattern similar to that of an infectious disease, evolving from the city's center and moving south and west over time in neighborhoods where most residents were poor and members of minority groups. Researchers also identified areas of Newark where there had been no clusters of homicide despite being surrounded by areas of deadly violence.

April Zeoli, PhD
is an assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Her research examines public policy as a tool through which to reduce intimate partner violence and homicide.One of Dr. Zeoli's research goals is to increase the safety of mothers separating from intimate partner abusing fathers. She investigates the connections between family court processes, custody determinations, and safety outcomes for female survivors of intimate partner violence and their children and seeks to identify modifiable factors at the critical juncture of child custody cases in family court that facilitate or deter the continuation of violence. She is also interested in the role of firearms and alcohol in intimate partner violence and homicide, as well as the criminal and civil justice system responses to partner violence. Additionally, Dr. Zeoli also researches the effects of laws mandating arrest for domestic violence incidents and laws designed to reduce known domestic violence perpetrators' access to firearms.

Caroline Nicholl
started her consulting business in Virginia, focusing on leadership, team development and organizational change, in 2002. In her earlier career in the U.K., she was part of a large initiative in the late 1980s to shift London's police from a "force” to a "service.” For seven years she served as police chief for the city of Milton Keyes, spearheading system changes across the justice system. She introduced interactive policing, which emphasizes community engagement and problem solving, and launched the first police-based restorative justice program in the country. Recidivism declined from 47 percent to less than 3.8 percent. In 1995-6 Caroline was awarded the Harkness Fellowship by the Commonwealth Fund in New York to look at justice systems in the U.S. In her present position, she has worked in all sectors and industries working the U.S., as well as in Iraq, Jordan, East Timor, Vietnam and Kenya. She is a trained mediator and a certified coach with the International Coaches Federation. She is a graduate of the Organizational Development Program at Georgetown University, and served as adjunct faculty for the program from 2008 to 2011.

The research by April Zeoli and her colleagues is one of the first to use software from the field of medical geography to track long term homicide trends and identify some areas that appeared to be at high risk yet seemed to be resistant to the trend. Read the story in Science Daily.

Read an abstract of the article, "Homicide as an Infectious Disease: Using Public Health Methods to Investigate the Diffusion of Homicide," by April M. Zeoli, Jesenia M. Pizzaro, Sue C. Grady and Christopher Melde,which appeared in the Justice Quarterly, October 12, 2012, here.


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