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Who are the most influential thinkers in world?

Identify leaders in your chosen discipline, research top professors in your area of study, and search for schools based on the luminaries who most inspire you!

Note: These rankings change dynamically as our artificial intelligence system learns new things and incorporates new publications and citations. Academics are constantly doing research and publishing new insights, with the result that our measure of influence is subject to continual adjustments. For quality assurance reasons, however, we forgo real-time changes, with most public updates happening only quarterly. In any case, don’t be surprised to see our rankings change over time.

Methodology: How and Why We Rank by Influence …

Gender designations here are based off data sourced from Wikidata.

About our data on gender

List of the most influential people in Policing, for the years 1970 – 2020

# 1
George L. Kelling

1935 - 2019 (84 years)

#27640 person's overall influence

George Lee Kelling was an American criminologist, a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University–Newark, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, and a fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He previously taught at Northeastern University.

# 2
James Q. Wilson

1931 - 2012 (81 years)

#5809 person's overall influence

James Quinn Wilson was an American conservative academic, political scientist, and an authority on public administration. Most of his career was spent as a professor at UCLA and Harvard University. He was the chairman of the Council of Academic Advisors of the American Enterprise Institute, member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board , and the President's Council on Bioethics. He was Director of Joint Center for Urban Studies at Harvard-MIT.

David Weisburd
# 3
David Weisburd

1954 - Present (67 years)

#127253 person's overall influence

David Weisburd was born in 1954 in Brooklyn, New York. He received his B.A. from Brandeis University, and an M.A., an M.Phil, and a Ph.D in sociology from Yale University. Weisburd currently hold joint appointments as the Walter E. Meyer Professor of Law and Criminal Justice at the Hebrew University Faculty of Law in Jerusalem, Executive Director of the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy, and Distinguished Professor at George Mason University.

Lawrence W. Sherman
# 4
Lawrence W. Sherman

1949 - Present (72 years)

#21660 person's overall influence

Lawrence W. Sherman was born in 1949 in Schenectady, New York. He graduated from Denison University with a B.A. in political science, before earning his M.A. in social science from the University of Chicago. He went on to earn his diploma in criminology from Cambridge University and his M.A. and Ph.D in sociology from Yale University.

John Alderson
# 5
John Alderson

1922 - 2011 (89 years)

#312601 person's overall influence

John Cottingham Alderson was a senior British police officer and expert on police and penal affairs.

# 6
Herman Goldstein

1931 - 2020 (89 years)

#236085 person's overall influence

Herman Goldstein was born in 1931 in New London, Connecticut. He attended the University of Connecticut, majoring in political science and government. He earned a master’s degree in governmental administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

# 7
Patrick Sharkey

1978 - Present (43 years)

#127911 person's overall influence

Patrick Sharkey is an American sociologist and criminologist who is currently Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He was formerly Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology at New York University, with an affiliation at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Jerzy Sarnecki
# 8
Jerzy Sarnecki

1947 - Present (74 years)

#47549 person's overall influence

Jerzy Sarnecki is a professor of criminology at Stockholm University. He studied geodesy as an undergraduate before earning a Ph.D. in sociology from Stockholm University. During his schooling, he worked at youth recreation centres, which led to his later work as a researcher of juvenile delinquency for the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention.

# 9
Lorie Fridell
#496172 person's overall influence

Lorie A. Fridell is an American criminologist known for her research on police, especially regarding racial profiling. She is an associate professor in the Department of Criminology at the University of South Florida , where she has taught since 2005. She was previously the research director at the Police Executive Research Forum for six years . She is the co-editor-in-chief of Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, along with her USF colleague Wesley Jennings.

Travis Hirschi
# 10
Travis Hirschi

1935 - 2017 (82 years)

#19244 person's overall influence

Travis Warner Hirschi was an American sociologist and an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Arizona. He helped to develop the modern version of the social control theory of crime and later the self-control theory of crime.

# 11
Wesley Jennings

1980 - Present (41 years)

#652301 person's overall influence

Wesley Glenn Jennings is an American criminologist. He is currently a professor and department chair in the Department of Criminal Justice & Legal Studies at the University of Mississippi. He was previously a professor and coordinator of the doctoral program in the School of Criminal Justice at Texas State University and associate professor in the Department of Criminology at University of South Florida, where he was also the Department's associate chairman and undergraduate director. He has previously been recognized as the #1 criminologist in the world in a 2012 paper in the Journal of Crim

# 12
Alfred Blumstein

1930 - Present (91 years)

#33538 person's overall influence

Alfred Blumstein was born in 1930 in New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D from Cornell University. Blumstein’s research has explored multiple aspects of criminal justice, such as career criminality, criminal justice policy, juvenile violence, deterrence, and populations within the prison system.

Nils Bejerot
# 13
Nils Bejerot

1921 - 1988 (67 years)

#86359 person's overall influence

Nils Bejerot was a Swedish psychiatrist and criminologist best known for his work on drug abuse and for coining the phrase Stockholm syndrome. Bejerot was one of the top drug abuse researchers in Sweden. His view that drug abuse was a criminal matter and that drug use should have severe penalties was highly influential in Sweden and in other countries. He believed that the cure for drug addiction was to make drugs unavailable and socially unacceptable. He also advocated the idea that drug abuse could transition from being a symptom to a disease in itself.

# 14
Jock Young

1942 - 2013 (71 years)

#39115 person's overall influence

Jock Young was a British sociologist and an influential criminologist.

Richard Rosenfeld
# 15
Richard Rosenfeld

1948 - Present (73 years)

#70072 person's overall influence

Richard Rosenfeld was born in 1948. He earned his B.A. and his Ph.D in sociology from the University of Oregon. He has been honored by his colleagues on several occasions. He was selected as a Fulbright Scholar in 2016 and received the Edwin H. Sutherland Award from the American Society of Criminology in 2017.

# 16
Steven Messner

1951 - Present (70 years)

#293603 person's overall influence

Steven Fredrick Messner is an American sociologist and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the sociology department at University at Albany, SUNY.

Michael R. Gottfredson
# 17
Michael R. Gottfredson

1951 - Present (70 years)

#36425 person's overall influence

Michael Ryan Gottfredson is the former President of the University of Oregon, serving from August 1, 2012 to August 6, 2014.

David M. Kennedy
# 18
David M. Kennedy

1958 - Present (63 years)

#165362 person's overall influence

David M. Kennedy is a criminologist, professor, action researcher, and author specializing in crime prevention among inner city gangs, especially in the prevention of violent acts among street gangs. Kennedy developed the Operation Ceasefire group violence intervention in Boston in the 1990s and the High Point Model drug market intervention in High Point, North Carolina, in 2003, which have proven to reduce violence and eliminate overt drug markets in jurisdictions around the United States. He founded the National Network for Safe Communities in 2009 to support cities using these and related ...

# 19
Philip J. Cook

1946 - Present (75 years)

#85664 person's overall influence

Philip Jackson Cook is the ITT/Terry Sanford Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University in the United States. He also holds faculty appointments in Duke's departments of sociology, and economics. His research has focused on crime and criminal justice policy; weapons and violent crime; health and safety regulation including alcohol taxation and the societal costs of drinking; the economics of state lotteries; and income distribution.

# 20
Mike Sutton

1959 - Present (62 years)

#96790 person's overall influence

Michael Robert Sutton is an ex-reader in criminology in the School of Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University, where he established the now defunct Centre for Study and Reduction of Bias, Prejudice and Hate Crime and is co-founder and chief editor of the Internet Journal of Criminology. He was joint winner of the 1998 British Journal of Criminology Prize for his research on hackers, and publicised the market reduction approach for tackling theft. Sutton has published journal articles on the subject of inter-racial relationships and violence.

# 21
Thorsten Sellin

1896 - 1994 (98 years)

#79770 person's overall influence

Johan Thorsten Sellin was a Swedish American sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, a penologist and one of the pioneers of scientific criminology.

# 22
William Spelman
#545154 person's overall influence

William Spelman is a professor of public affairs at the University of Texas at Austin's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He is an expert on urban policy and criminal justice policy.

Benjamin Perrin
# 23
Benjamin Perrin
#120109 person's overall influence

Benjamin Perrin is an associate professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Ray Whitrod
# 24
Ray Whitrod

1915 - 2003 (88 years)

#82776 person's overall influence

Raymond Wells Whitrod, was an Australian police officer and criminologist. He was considered a world leader in the way society treats victims of crime. He was known as a man of high professional standards, with a commitment to justice, equity and integrity. He became best known for his term as Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service, resigning in protest in 1976 at the corruption then endemic in Queensland, and in particular over the appointment by the Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, of Terry Lewis as Assistant Commissioner.

# 25
Jeffrey Fagan

1946 - Present (75 years)

#507167 person's overall influence

Jeffrey Alan Fagan is the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. He is also the director of that institution's Center for Crime, Community and Law, and a professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health.

# 26
Ronald V. Clarke

1941 - Present (80 years)

#313152 person's overall influence

Ronald V. Clarke was born in 1941 in Tanga, Tanganyika. He received his B.A. in psychology and philosophy from the University of Bristol, his M.A. in clinical psychology, and Ph.D in psychology from the University of London.

# 27
James Fyfe

1942 - 2005 (63 years)

#174736 person's overall influence

James J. Fyfe was an American criminologist, a leading authority on the police use of force and police accountability, and a police administrator.

# 28
Phil Scraton

1949 - Present (72 years)

#281721 person's overall influence

Phil Scraton is a critical criminologist, academic and author. He is a social researcher, known particularly for his investigative work into the context, circumstances and aftermath of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster. More recently, he was a member of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and headed its research. Currently he is Professor Emeritus, School of Law at Queen's University Belfast, and Director of the Childhood, Transition and Social Justice Initiative.

# 29
Marvin Wolfgang

1924 - 1998 (74 years)

#127060 person's overall influence

Marvin Eugene Wolfgang was an American sociologist and criminologist.

Lorraine Mazerolle
# 30
Lorraine Mazerolle

1964 - Present (57 years)

#387100 person's overall influence

Lorraine Mazerolle is chief investigator for the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Children and Families over the Life Course, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Experimental Criminology, affiliate professor at the Institute for Social Science Research, and professor at the School of Social Science at the University of Queensland. She earned a Ph.D. from Rutgers University.

# 31
Joan McCord

1930 - 2004 (74 years)

#125344 person's overall influence

Joan Fish McCord was an American professor of Criminology at Temple University and a recipient of an ASC Award.

# 32
Marc Mauer

1950 - Present (71 years)

#243902 person's overall influence

Marc Mauer is the executive director of the Sentencing Project, a group that advocates for criminal justice reform and addressing racial disparities in the United States criminal-justice system.

# 33
Gary Kleck

1951 - Present (70 years)

#20181 person's overall influence

Gary Kleck is a criminologist and the David J. Bordua Professor Emeritus of Criminology at Florida State University.

David Wilson
# 34
David Wilson

1956 - Present (65 years)

#100857 person's overall influence

David Wilson is a professor emeritus of criminology at Birmingham City University. He studied at the University of Glasgow and Selwyn College at Cambridge before earning his Ph.D. from the Cambridge Institute of Criminology.

# 35
Jeffrey A. Roth

1945 - Present (76 years)

#239303 person's overall influence

Jeffrey A. Roth is criminologist and associate director for research at the University of Pennsylvania's Jerry Lee Center of Criminology.

# 36
Steven Raphael

1968 - Present (53 years)

#91324 person's overall influence

Steven Paul Raphael is an American economist. He is Professor of Public Policy in the Goldman School of Public Policy and director of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley, as well as an adjunct fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California. He is also a research fellow at the University of Michigan National Poverty Center, the University of Chicago Crime Lab, and the Institute for the Study of Labor in Bonn, Germany.

Donald Cressey
# 37
Donald Cressey

1919 - 1987 (68 years)

#42157 person's overall influence

Donald Ray Cressey was an American penologist, sociologist, and criminologist who made innovative contributions to the study of organized crime, prisons, criminology, the sociology of criminal law, white-collar crime.

Jeffrey Ian Ross
# 38
Jeffrey Ian Ross

1958 - Present (63 years)

#473141 person's overall influence

Jeffrey Ian Ross, Ph.D. is a scholar, professor, and criminologist specializing in the fields of policing, corrections, political crime, violence, abnormal-extreme criminal behavior, and crime and justice in American Indian communities. Since 1998 Ross has been a professor at the University of Baltimore. He is currently the co-chair of the Division of Critical Criminology of the American Society of Criminology. Ross is an award winning author, co-author, editor, and co-editor of numerous books.

David Theo Goldberg
# 39
David Theo Goldberg

1952 - Present (69 years)

#57507 person's overall influence

David Theo Goldberg is the director of the systemwide University of California Humanities Research Institute, and a Distinguished Professor of Comparative Literature and Anthropology for the University of California at Irvine. He studied economics, politics, and philosophy from the University of Cape Town before earning a Ph.D. in philosophy from the City University of New York.

# 40
Ronald Weitzer

1952 - Present (69 years)

#157330 person's overall influence

Ronald Weitzer is a sociologist specializing in criminology and a professor at George Washington University, known for his publications on police-minority relations and on the sex industry.

# 41
Gloria Laycock
#809795 person's overall influence

Gloria Laycock was the founding Director of the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science at University College London , and ran UCL's Centre for Security & Crime Science. She is an internationally renowned expert in crime prevention, and especially situational approaches which seek to design out situations which provoke crime.

# 42
Joan Petersilia

1951 - 2019 (68 years)

#99131 person's overall influence

Joan Ramme Petersilia was an American criminologist and the Adelbert H. Sweet Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, as well as the faculty co-director of the Stanford Criminal Justice Center.

# 43
Roger Matthews

1948 - 2020 (72 years)

#193507 person's overall influence

Roger Matthews , was a British criminologist. He was a Professor of Criminology at the University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom. Prior to joining the University of Kent, he was a professor of criminology at London South Bank University and Middlesex University.

# 44
David McDowall

1949 - Present (72 years)

#220919 person's overall influence

David McDowall is an American criminologist and distinguished teaching professor in the School of Criminal Justice at University at Albany, SUNY, where he is also co-director of the Violence Research Group. Educated at Portland State University and Northwestern University, he taught at the University of Maryland, College Park from 1990 until joining the University at Albany in 1996. He has published a number of studies pertaining to gun violence in the United States.

Michael Tonry
# 45
Michael Tonry

1945 - Present (76 years)

#54781 person's overall influence

Michael Tonry was born in 1945 in Martinsburg, West Virginia. He earned his B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, before going on to graduate with an L.L.B. from Yale Law School.

# 46
Christopher S. Koper
#163951 person's overall influence

Christopher S. Koper is Professor of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University, and a senior fellow and co-director of the evidence-based policing program in the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. He holds a Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland and has over 25 years of experience conducting criminological research at PERF, the University of Pennsylvania, the Urban Institute, the RAND Corporation, the Police Foundation, and other organizations, where he has written and published extensively on issues relating to firearms, policing, resear

Stanley Cohen
# 47
Stanley Cohen

1942 - 2013 (71 years)

#17020 person's overall influence

Stanley Cohen was a sociologist and criminologist, Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics, known for breaking academic ground on "emotional management", including the mismanagement of emotions in the form of sentimentality, overreaction, and emotional denial. He had a lifelong concern with human rights violations, first growing up in South Africa, later studying imprisonment in England and finally in Palestine. He founded the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics.

# 48
John Lea

1944 - Present (77 years)

#202072 person's overall influence

John Lea is a British left realist criminologist. For many years he was based at the Centre for Criminology and the Crime and Conflict Research Centre, Middlesex University in the United Kingdom.

# 49
Brian McConaghy

1963 - Present (58 years)

#179263 person's overall influence

Brian McConaghy is the founder of Ratanak International and a former Canadian forensic scientist who left the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in order to dedicate all his energies to ending child abuse and human trafficking in Cambodia. He had already founded Ratanak International, in 1989, a Christian charity dedicated to helping the people of Cambodia rebuild their country that for decades had been torn apart by civil war, revolution and genocide. From 1990 onwards McConaghy and Ratanak partnered on projects that built clinics, hospitals and schools, opened orphanages, provided shelters for

# 50
Anthony Braga

1969 - Present (52 years)

#476912 person's overall influence

Anthony Allan Braga is an American criminologist and the director of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University.