UNA Pressroom

Una Leads Justice Department Research On Crime After Hurricanes

Oct. 30, 2009



Michelle Eubanks, UNA, at media@una.edu, 256.765.4392 or 256.606.2033

FLORENCE, Ala. - The University of North Alabama has received a $350,000 grant from the Department of Justice to research patterns of crime during disaster and disaster-recovery periods. The research is for Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS.

The joint research project involves UNA's departments of geography, criminal justice and sociology. There are eight students working on the project, as well. The research team will specifically research crime during the recovery period of Hurricane Lili (2002), Hurricane Isabel (2003), Hurricane Ivan (2004) and Hurricane Wilma (2005). Cities being analyzed for crime patterns are Mobile, Miami, Pensacola, Boca Raton and Rocky Mount, N.C. "We want to know how crime patterns are associated with disaster and how they change through time after a disaster in the recovery phase," said Dr. Lisa Keys-Mathews, principle investigator and associate professor of geography. "The long-term goal is to develop a model for police organizations to use that will help them make decisions regarding policing effort by location." Keys-Mathews said preliminary research shows that type of crime and crime patterns change during the recovery period after an environmental disaster. Some research shows that there is a rise in domestic violence, alcohol- and drug-related crimes, possession of stolen property, and prostitution after a disaster. Keys-Mathews began working on the project part-time beginning in January 2009 and will be a full-time UNA researcher starting in January 2010. Other faculty from the departments of sociology, criminal justice and geography work on the project, as well. FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Keys-Mathews at 256-765-4640 or lkeysmathews@una.edu.

About The University of North Alabama

The University of North Alabama is an accredited, comprehensive regional state university offering undergraduate and graduate degree programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education and Human Sciences, and the Anderson College of Nursing and Health Professions. Occupying a 130-acre campus in a residential section of Florence, Alabama, UNA is located within a four-city area that also includes Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. UNA Athletics, a renowned collegiate athletics program with seven (7) Division II National Championships, is now a proud member of the NCAA Division I’s ASUN Big South Conference. The University of North Alabama is an equal opportunity institution and does not discriminate in the admission policy on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, disability, age, or national origin. For more: www.una.edu and www.una.edu/unaworks/