14th Annual John Jay/H.F. Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America



A candlelight service outside the White House for victims of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootings. Photo by Adam Fagen via Flickr

Is America a violent country?  On an average day, 100 Americans are killed by guns. Mass shootings, such as the Parkland Fl., school tragedy and the October, 2018 massacre at Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life synagogue, continue to make headlines.




These tragic incidents also form part of the background climate for arguments made, primarily by the administration, that violent crime and “carnage” have re-emerged as threats to Americans’ public safety.

Yet although the data suggest that violent crime rates are continuing to decline, (with important exceptions), there are many other dimensions of violence in America that raise concerns, such as domestic violence and hate crimes.

How does the U.S. public sift through these apparently contradictory realities—and how can the media provide the important context for public policy debates that can address them?

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation sponsored a year-long Reporting Fellowship aimed at bringing journalists together with criminologists, practitioners, and experts in the field to go behind the headlines, and explore the varied forms of violence and conflict in the U.S., from mass shootings and hate crimes to prison violence and domestic abuse, their intersection with the justice system, and best practices in intervention and prevention.

29 journalists from U.S.-based print, online or broadcast media were selected for the Fellowship, including five Fellowships awarded to investigative journalists examining flaws in the U.S. justice system by the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania.

For a news release on the Symposium events, and a list of the 2019 Fellows, click here.

Both Fellowship programs kicked off with a two-day Symposium at John Jay College in New York on Feb 21-22, 2019. The annual  Symposium on Crime in America is  one of the signature, prestigious events in the country’s criminal justice calendar. It is the only national forum that brings together journalists, practitioners, advocates, and scholars for candid conversations about emerging criminal justice challenges.

The agenda is available here.

Keynote speakers were George Gascon, San Francisco’s DA, and one of the country’s leading advocates of policing and court reform. and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.

Watch keynote address by Gurbir Grewal

Other speakers included: Vincent Schiraldi, former NYC Probation Commissioner and now head of Columbia University’s Justice Lab; noted criminologists Al Blumstein, Rick Rosenfeld, Janet Lauritsen, James Fox; Mark Holden, general counsel of Koch Industries; and Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof.

The 2019 symposium is organized by John Jay’s Center on Media, Crime and Justice, and supported with a grant from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. Additional supporters include the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice.


Ron Berler, Hartford Courant

An Anti-Violence Policy that Might Work: Focus on Ammo, Not Guns

Deven Clarke, KSAT12 San Antonio, Tx

‘We Can’t Police Violence Away’

Ryan Denham, GLT

Opioid Crisis Sparked Big Response In B-N. Why Hasn’t Gun Violence?  Feb 24, 2019

In Bloomington Neighborhoods, Fears of Gunfire Outpace The Stats April 1, 2019

Reckless But Law-Abiding: How Guns Get Stolen In Central Illinois April 25, 2019

Advocates Search For Common Ground To Improve Gun-Storage Laws  April 26, 2019

‘He’s Not Just a Number’: Are Gun Deaths Eclipsed by Opioid Crisis?

April 4, April 19, 2019

Stolen Guns: Who’s Responsible?

Andrew Ford, Asbury Park Press/USA Today

August 2019

Can American Police Close the Gender Gap?

Gary Harki, Virginia Pilot

While Mired in Investigations & Death, Hampton Regional Board Fought Against Change  April 11, 2019

Virginia’s Tangled Politics of Jail Reform

Katie Moore

Topeka Capital-Journal/April 29, 2019

Battling Sex Crime in Kansas: ‘It’s Nice to Know Someone Believes You’

Tom Olsen

Duluth News Tribune, July 3, 2019

Minnesota Goes ‘Outside the Box’ to Address Opioid Crisis 

Tom Olsen

Michael Sainato

The Guardian, May 26, 2019

Deaths Behind Bars Spur Concerns Across the U.S.