UALR Professor on Mission to Reduce Murder Rate

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A local university professor is on a mission to reduce murders in Arkansas.

Dr. Emily Berthelot is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

She's conducting a homicide study that focuses on who's most at risk and why.

Dr. Berthelot is pulling some all nighters in her research. She's received more than $160,000 to study who in the country is at a greater risk for being a victim of homicide. The work compares those who are disadvantaged to those who live in disadvantaged areas.

"Disadvantaged plays a very large role. Basically the community disadvantage plays the bigger role than the individual factors. Being a black male you have a much greater risk of being a victim of a homicide than being a white female," she explains. "It's a lot of the same things you see south of 630 in Central Little Rock.

Dr. Jeffery Walker, head of the Criminal Justice Department at UALR says that area is where a lot of the concentrated disadvantaged live and it spreads out from there.

"We've got some hot spot areas, those hot spot areas change based on housing sometimes we've got one spot north of the airport," he says.

As Dr. Berthelot continues her research, she's hoping her findings will help those in charge make a difference.

"Maybe changes in policy, where resources should go," she says.

And while she is dedicated to teaching, her research on lowering homicides is her passion for now.

"I can get lost in this for hours and hours," says Dr. Berthelot.

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