University of Chicago Crime Lab to mark first 10 years at October event

Mayor Lightfoot, city leaders to discuss next decade of research and partnership

Editor’s note: The following is part of Urban October at UChicago—an initiative of the University of Chicago Urban Network. Throughout the month, University scholars will convene key stakeholders and present new research and collaborations that confront urban challenges around the globe. 

To mark a decade of work that has helped transform the way academic research tackles the most urgent and pressing public policy challenges in our country, the University of Chicago Crime Lab will host an Oct. 15 event featuring Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, JD’89, Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice K. Jackson and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson. Entitled “The Next 10,” it will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan Ave.

For ten years, the Crime Lab has worked in close partnership with policymakers and non-profits to design, evaluate, and scale the most promising programs aimed at reducing violence, advancing criminal justice reform, and, in partnership with the Education Lab, improving educational opportunities in Chicago. “The Next 10” event will highlight some of the Crime Lab’s and Education Lab’s highest-impact efforts to date and will look ahead to the next decade of this work. Lightfoot, Jackson and Johnson will engage in a conversation about the partnerships that make this work possible and the future of community-focused, evidence-informed, and data-driven policymaking, moderated by Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding.

“We aimed to do a different kind of social science research, with the goal of changing social conditions and improving lives,” said Jens Ludwig, the Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor at Harris Public Policy and director of the Crime Lab. “This involves partnering closely with policymakers and practitioners to solve cities’ most pressing challenges, because the public sector ultimately is the key to having impact at scale in areas like criminal justice and education. We look forward to this opportunity to highlight the power of these partnerships and the ways in which data science can continue to serve our city and other cities in the years to come.”

“Ten years ago it was clear that there was a need for more rigorous research to help address crime and other related social problems that confront our city and cities around the globe,” said President Robert J. Zimmer. “We believed that the Crime Lab would offer a fresh approach and contribute in a distinct way by actively combining research and policy, with our faculty working in direct partnership with city agencies. The results of that approach have been remarkable, and we look forward to the next ten years.”

The early success of the Crime Lab led to the creation of the Education Lab in 2011, as well as the expansion of the Crime Lab into New York City in 2014 at the invitation of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s administration. In addition, the Crime and Education Labs’ groundbreaking work helped inspire the creation of the Urban Labs in 2015, with the launch of three new independent labs: the Energy and Environment Lab, Poverty Lab, and Health Lab.

The ten-year anniversary event is being held during Urban October at UChicago, an initiative of the University of Chicago Urban Network—research institutes, policy labs, centers and academic units at the University focused on pioneering urban science and practice. Week by week, UChicago scholars will convene key stakeholders and present new research and collaborations that will confront global urban challenges and identify emerging opportunities.

“This anniversary provides an important opportunity to reflect on the transformative work of our policymaker, nonprofit, civic and philanthropic partners. Together, we have aimed to co-produce knowledge about what works and to help government and non-profit organizations better serve our communities,” said Roseanna Ander, founding executive director of the Crime Lab. “We have seen real progress, but there is an urgent need to do much more to ensure Chicago and cities across the country achieve equity in education and safety.”