Tuesday 3rd April 2012 7:15 for 7:45


Tom Ap Rees Lecture Theatre, Department of Plant Sciences,

Downing Site, Cambridge, CB2 3EA



Classifying crime using a Crime Harm Index


Lawrence Sherman

Institute of Criminology


Abstract: According to the former head of the National Policing Improvement Agency the UK needs to dramatically change the way it does justice if there are not to be disastrous consequences following the proposed 20% cut in the criminal justice system budget. This talk details a classification scheme that  aims to produce a more cost-effective method of dealing with offenders that will reduce prison numbers. To this end a Criminal Harm Index (CHI) has been developed by the speaker that looks at the harm done by crime rather than simply counting offences.  An automated system for offender forecasting is being developed using 100,000 criminal histories from the Police National Computer that, it is hoped, will predict how much harm each arrested person is likely to cause. Such a system has the potential to revolutionise the handling of offenders and ultimately keep the public safer.


Speaker: Since beginning his career as a civilian research analyst in the New York City Police Department as an Alfred P. Sloan Urban Fellow in 1971, Lawrence Sherman has collaborated with over 30 police agencies around the world, evaluating policies designed to prevent crime, reduce domestic violence, get illegal guns off the streets, prevent police corruption, close down crack houses, and help victims of crime. He was appointed as the first Professor of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003 and in 2006 was elected Wolfson Professor of Criminology at the Cambridge Institute of Criminology at Cambridge University. He also holds appointments at the Australian National University and the University of Maryland.


Directions: The Department of Plant Sciences is located on the Downing site situated between Downing Street and Tennis Court Road (Please see the map on reverse of the notice at Go through the second door you come to in the building immediately on your left as you enter from Tennis Court Road. Once inside the building follow the arrows. Refreshments will be served in the first floor kitchen. It is not possible to park on the Downing site in the evening. The nearest car park is at Lion Yard. Arrivals after 7-45pm can gain admittance by contacting the secretary on 07761769436.


Provisional Next Meetings:

21st May – Darrel Ince (Open University) on ‘The Dimensions of Reproducibility’.

9th October –  Bob Haining (Geography).

November – Lisa Pennells (Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit).

4th February 2013 – Vern Farewell (MRC Biostatistics).


Supper: Some members eat regularly in the University Centre before each meeting at 6pm. Feel free to join them.


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