Robert Crutchfield

Professor of Sociology, University of Washington

Areas of Expertise

  • Inequality and crime
  • Labor markets
  • Urban communities
  • Deviance and social control
  • Race and ethnicity

Key Findings

  • Seventy percent of surveyed students had no contact with the police. MORE
  • Thirty percent of students had some contact with the police and 23% said they only had contact and had not been arrested by the police. MORE
  • Seven percent of participants reported having been arrested and 2% reported they had been placed in a juvenile detention center. MORE
  • Black as likely as Whites to report police contact (40% to 21% respectively. MORE
  • Blacks reported more property crime than Whites, but both groups reported crimes of similar violence levels. MORE
  • The likelihood of participant police contact was increased by parents or siblings being involved with criminal activity, higher observations of reward for negative behavior, having school disciplinary actions, and knowing adults who engaged in criminal behavior. MORE
  • School discipline was connected to race differences in police citizen interactions. MORE


Robert Crutchfield, Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington, is an expert in race and ethnicity, labor markets, urban communities, deviance and social control, social stratification and inequality.

Crutchfield served as a juvenile probation officer and worked as a parole agent in Pennsylvania. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) and served as the vice president of ASC. He served on the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Law and Justice and received a Distinguished Teaching Award from the University of Washington. He is currently on the Board of Directors of The Sentencing Project.

He has been published in numerous scholarly journals including Prevention Journal and the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. He authored Get A Job: Labor Markets, Economic Opportunity and Crime.

Crutchfield received his Ph.D. and M.A. from Vanderbilt University and B.A. in sociology from Thiel College in Pennsylvania