RIT criminal justice professor earns distinguished DuBois fellowship

Irshad Altheimer’s research focuses on understanding, reducing dispute-related violence

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Irshad Altheimer, assistant professor of criminal justice in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts, recently earned a DuBois fellowship to produce research on disputer-related violence that will be discussed on a national level.

Irshad Altheimer, assistant professor of criminal justice in Rochester Institute of Technology’s College of Liberal Arts, has earned a W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship in the amount of $99,727 for his work related to understanding and reducing dispute-related violence.

Throughout the two-year project, Altheimer will work with the Rochester Police Department, Monroe Crime Analysis Center and researchers at RIT’s Center for Public Safety Initiatives to develop a violent-dispute database, a final report that enhances understanding of the dispute-related violence and, ultimately, a framework for decreasing dispute-related violence. The data will consist of approximately 600 shooting assault cases and 600 non-shooting aggravated-assault cases that occurred in Rochester from 2010 to 2012, in addition to homicide information for both shootings and non-shootings. Data will be collected on the location of the assault, the circumstances preceding the assault, characteristics of the victim and offender, the criminal justice response and whether the victim was killed as a result of the assault.

According to Altheimer, many of these circumstances are connected to longstanding disputes and are affiliated with gangs or other violent groups. He hopes his research will help law enforcement identify these problems earlier and more systematically, while also understanding the characteristics of the disputes.

“I grew up around inner-city violence in Tacoma, Wash., which is similar in size to Rochester,” said Altheimer. “Watching gang violence escalate and experiencing the rise of crack cocaine—which took over whole neighborhoods—sparked an early interest in studying these issues.”

The DuBois fellowship offers academic researchers the opportunity to elevate independently generated research and ideas to the level of national discussion. According to the National Institute of Justice, research funded by the program should have direct implications for criminal justice policy and practice in the United States.