Charles Katz is the Watts Family Director of the Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety and is an Associate Professor in School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. He received his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice in 1997 from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Much of his research focuses on gangs and strategic responses to community gang problems. Currently, Dr. Katz is involved in a locally funded project interviewing recently booked arrestees in Maricopa County, Arizona. The research aims to understand the scope and nature of the county’s gang problem, organizational structure of gangs, and the connection between crime, drug use, and gangs. He is also working with the Organization of American States (OAS) to understand the gang problem in the Caribbean and develop a regionally-based gang prevention program. Additionally, he is currently working on a project funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security examining the connection between MS13 in El Salvador and the United States, and is a partner in The National Center for Border Security and Immigration (BORDERS) funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Over the past 10 years much of Dr. Katz’ work focuses on understanding strategic responses to gangs. For example, he was the principal investigator for a National Institute of Justice (NIJ) funded project examining the police response to gangs in four cities: Phoenix, Arizona, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Las Vegas Nevada, and Inglewood, California. Related to this research Dr. Katz spent over 2,000 hours in the field with gang unit officers across the country examining organizational structures and operational strategies that are effective in responding to gangs. In addition, he worked with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and the City of Mesa, Arizona to evaluate the effectiveness of the Comprehensive Community-Wide Gang Intervention project in Mesa, Arizona; and served as the lead evaluator and research partner for the Nevada Project Safe Neighborhoods project to evaluate a multi-disciplinary response to gangs and gun violence in Clark County, Nevada. From 2004 to 2010 he worked under contract with the Ministry of National Security of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to address the nation’s gang problem, including the establishment of a gang unit, homicide unit, crime analysis unit, and the implementation of vertical prosecution strategies. He is the (co) author of several peer reviewed articles, monographs, and books including Policing Gangs in America (Cambridge University Press: 2006) and The Police in America (McGraw Hill: 2008).