Crime Lab University of Chicago Crime Lab to Mark First 10 Years at October Event

Mayor Lightfoot and other city leaders to discuss the next decade of research and partnership to support a safer, thriving Chicago.

To mark a decade of work that has helped transform the way academic research tackles the most urgent and pressing public policy challenges in our country, the University of Chicago Crime Lab will host Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (JD’89), Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice K. Jackson, and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie T. Johnson at an event, “The Next 10."

For ten years, the Crime Lab has worked in close partnership with policymakers and non-profits to design, evaluate, and scale the most promising programs aimed at reducing violence, advancing criminal justice reform, and, in partnership with the Education Lab, improving educational opportunities in Chicago. The Next 10 will highlight some of the Crime Lab and Education Lab’s highest-impact efforts to date and will look ahead to the next decade of this work. Mayor Lightfoot, Dr. Jackson, and Superintendent Johnson will engage in a conversation about the partnerships that make this work possible and the future of community-focused, evidence-informed, and data-driven policymaking, moderated by Joyce Foundation President Ellen Alberding.

We aimed to do a different kind of social science research, with the goal of changing social conditions and improving lives,” said Jens Ludwig, Edwin A. and Betty L. Bergman Distinguished Service Professor at Harris Public Policy and Director of the Crime Lab. “This involves partnering closely with policymakers and practitioners to solve cities’ most pressing challenges, because the public sector ultimately is the key to having impact at scale in areas like criminal justice and education. We look forward to this opportunity to highlight the power of these partnerships and the ways in which data science can continue to serve our city and other cities in the years to come.”

“Ten years ago it was clear that there was a need for more rigorous research to help address crime and other related social problems that confront our city and cities around the globe,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer. “We believed that the Crime Lab would offer a fresh approach and contribute in a distinct way by actively combining research and policy, with our faculty working in direct partnership with city agencies. The results of that approach have been remarkable, and we look forward to the next ten years.”

The early success of the Crime Lab led to the creation of the Education Lab in 2011, as well as the expansion of the Crime Lab into New York City in 2014 at the invitation of Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s administration. In addition, the Crime and Education Labs’ groundbreaking work helped inspire the creation of the Urban Labs in 2015, with the launch of three new independent labs: the Energy and Environment Lab, Poverty Lab, and Health Lab.

The ten-year anniversary event is being held during Urban October at UChicago, an initiative of the University of Chicago Urban Network — research institutes, policy labs, centers, and academic units at the university focused on pioneering urban science and practice. Week by week, university scholars will convene key stakeholders and present new research and collaborations that will confront global urban challenges and identify emerging opportunities.

“This anniversary provides an important opportunity to reflect on the transformative work of our policymaker, nonprofit, civic, and philanthropic partners. Together, we have aimed to co-produce knowledge about what works and to help government and non-profit organizations better serve our communities,” said Roseanna Ander, founding Executive Director of the Crime Lab. “We have seen real progress, but there is an urgent need to do much more to ensure Chicago and cities across the country achieve equity in education and safety.”



The University of Chicago Crime Lab, housed at the Harris School of Public Policy, partners with policymakers and practitioners to help cities design and test the most promising ways to reduce crime and improve human lives at scale. It focuses on the most important criminal justice challenges of our time, including efforts to help Chicago and other cities prevent crime and violence from happening in the first place, improve schooling and income opportunities for those living in communities most impacted by violence, and reduce the harms of the criminal justice system. To learn more about the Crime Lab, visit

The University of Chicago Urban Network brings together research institutes, policy labs, centers, and academic units from across the university that are working in urban science, practice, and civic engagement. As leaders in urban research and policy, University of Chicago Urban Network members are confronting challenges in cities around the globe through rigorous testing and analysis, development of fundamental ideas, application of emerging technologies, and partnerships with global and community leaders.

11 October 2019