David Kennedy

Professor of Criminal Justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Areas of Expertise

  • Criminology
  • Gang violence
  • Focused deterrence
  • Problem-oriented policing
  • Community policing
  • Drug markets
  • Domestic violence

Key Findings

  • Crime is concentrated in a small number of high-risk places during high-risk times and generated by a small number of very risky people in Central America and Mexico. MORE
  • One strategy is the deterrence of specific violent individuals, which decreased homicide rates from 34-64% in certain cases. MORE
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which uses psychological techniques to change unhealthy thought patterns in individuals who commit crime, is associated with a 25-52% decrease in reoffending. MORE
  • In 2005, half of African-American males between ages 20-30 in Baltimore, Maryland were under court supervision. MORE
  • There is a strong disconnect and distrust between police and community conceptions on drugs, crime, family and motives. MORE
  • Some positive deterrence strategies include using the community, lessening strict sentencing laws and focusing on group crime, not individual crime. MORE
  • In 2011, the homicide rate fell by 40% in America, but it did not affect inner-city areas. MORE


David Kennedy, Professor of Criminal Justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Director of the National Network for Safe Communities, is an expert in crime prevention, deterrence, problem-oriented policing, gang violence, drug markets, domestic violence, and other public safety issues.

Kennedy supports cities implementing strategic interventions to reduce violence, minimize arrest and incarceration, enhance police legitimacy, and strengthen relationships between law enforcement and communities. These interventions have been proven effective in a variety of settings by a Campbell Collaboration meta-analysis. He has won two Ford Foundation Innovations in Government awards, two Webber Seavey Awards from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the Herman Goldstein International Award for Problem-Oriented Policing. He was awarded the 2011 Hatfield Scholar Award for scholarship in the public interest. He helped develop the High Point Drug Market Intervention strategy; the Justice Department’s Strategic Approaches to Community Safety Initiative; the Treasury Department’s Youth Crime Gun Interdiction Initiative; the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Drug Market Intervention Program; and the High Point Domestic Violence Intervention Program.

He is the author of Don’t Shoot, One Man, a Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City AmericaDeterrence and Crime Prevention: Reconsidering the Prospect of Sanction and is the co-author of Beyond 911: A New Era for Policing.

Kennedy received his B.A. in philosophy and history from Swarthmore College.