SHSU Gun Study Earns Emerald Award

Police officer steps on suspect's hand grabbing a gun.

Three professors from the College of Criminal Justice were presented the 2013 Outstanding Paper Award from the Emerald Literati Network for their study on the effects of gun possession arrests by a specialized Houston Police Department unit.

Drs. William Wells, Yan Zhang and Jihong Zhao were recognized for their research, “The effects of gun possession arrests made by a proactive police patrol unit,” which appeared in Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management. The journal is produced by the Emerald Literati Network, a global leader in academic publishing with more than 290 journals and 2,000 books.

“Ultimately, an outstanding paper should have that special something – something that raises it above all the others and which the editor and Editorial Advisory Board can recognize and define for the rest of us,” according to Emerald’s Web Site. The Outstanding Paper Award recognizes the contribution of something new to the body of knowledge, excellent structure and presentation, rigorous analysis, relevance to practice, and up-to-date knowledge in the field.

Officer handcuffs suspect on the trunk of a police car.The study examined the Houston Police Department’s Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) and found that gun possession arrests made by the unit were linked to significant reductions in offenses committed with guns. The unit targets high crime areas with concentrated patrols, frequent contacts with suspicious individuals, and arrests for drug and weapons offenses.

“These findings add to the growing evidence that supports the use of directed patrols to target illegal gun possession in high crime locations,” said Dr. Wells in the study. “An interesting phenomenon observed in Houston and in other cities is that relatively small numbers of additional gun seizures (and gun possession arrests in the current analysis) generate meaningful results.”

The full text of the study can be found at Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management.


Dr. William Wells
“We’re honored to receive this recognition for our paper and our study,” said Dr. Wells. “We hope this recognition helps shine a light on research findings from multiple cities that show concentrated and focused police patrol work can reduce gun violence. When cities look for ways to reduce street gun violence they should consider implementing police patrol strategies and tactics that are supported by research.”

In addition to the Outstanding Paper Award presented to the SHSU professors, Dr. Chang-Bae Lee, a SHSU Ph.D. alumnus and professor at the University of Ulsan in Korea, also was among a group which received a “highly commended” award from Emerald for their contribution, “Organizational justice and organizational commitment among South Korean police officers: An investigation of job satisfaction as a mediator.” That study was co-authored by Dr. Matthew Crow of the University of West Florida and Jae-Jin Joo of Honam University is Gwangju, Korea.

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