Former Department Chair and Distinguished University Professor Lawrence W. Sherman held a joint appointment with the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology, where he is Director of the Jerry Lee Centre of Experimental Criminology and Wolfson Professor of Criminology Emeritus. His research has advanced the application of criminology to public policy in partnerships with over 30 countries, including the UK, Australia, Denmark, Sweden, Hong Kong, and Trinidad & Tobago. His publications have affected public policies in a variety of ways, including

  • The US Supreme Court’s decision restricting police powers to shoot people cited Sherman’s research predicting (correctly) that banning gunshots at fleeing suspects would not cause increases in crime, or in violence against police officers
  • Massive changes in police patrol patterns resulted from Sherman’s 1987 finding that over half of all reported crime and disorder occurred at just 3% of the property addresses in a major city, a finding that has since been consistently replicated in other cities. He showed that that exactly where and when crime will occur is far more predictable than anyone had previously thought, thus laying the theoretical and empirical basis for what is now called "hot spots policing," now widely practiced from New York to Sydney.
  • The effects of arrest for non-injurious domestic assault has contradictory effects on different kinds of domestic violence offenders, causing less violence among employed men but doubling the frequency of violence among men without jobs. This finding has also been replicated by independent scientists, and is now the basis for some women's advocates to recommend abandoning mandatory arrest policies for non-injurious domestic assault.
  • His award-winning follow-up (with Maryland doctoral student Heather Harris) of the Milwaukee domestic violence experiment found that arrest of abusers doubled the rate of premature death from all causes among African-American victims, further challenging the fairness of mandatory arrest policies.
  • With his colleague Heather Strang, Sherman discovered that restorative justice conferences between violent offenders and their victims reduced repeat offending across nine out of ten restorative justice experiments they designed across a wide range of offence types, offenders, and points in the criminal justice system.

Sherman currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Cambridge Journal of Evidence-Based Policing,and as Honorary President of the Society of Evidence-Based Policing, which has 2,000 members in 35 countries, primarily serving police officers who are interested in research, and as Chief Executive of the Cambridge Centre for Evidence-Based Policing. He past President of the American Society of Criminology, of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, of the Academy of Experimental Criminology, of the International Society of Criminology, and past Chair of the Division of Experimental Criminology of ASC. Since 2006 he has served as Co-Chair of the International Jury for the annual Stockholm Prize in Criminology.

Sherman’s recent awards include Yale University’s Wilbur Cross Medal (2017), the Gold Medal of the University of Bialystok in Poland (2017), the ASC Division of Policing Lifetime Achievement Award (2016), honorary doctorates in social science from the University of Stockholm (2013) and humane letters from Denison University (2014), the Benjamin Franklin Medal from the Royal Society of Arts in London in 2011, the Beccaria Medal in Gold of the German Society of Criminology in 2009, and a Distinguished Achievement Award from George Mason University in 2013. In 2014 the Division of Experimental Criminology of ASC selected his JEC article on the death rates of domestic abuse victims in the Milwaukee arrest experiment (co-authored with then-UMD PhD student Heather Harris) for the Outstanding Field Experiment of the year.

Areas of Interest

  • Experimental Criminology, Defiance Theory, Evidence-Based Policy
CV: Sherman CV 2017787.55 KB


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Magna Cum Laude, Denison University
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    University of Chicago
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Yale University
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Criminology, Cambridge University

Current Students

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Bo Jiang
Lawrence Sherman
shermanl [at]