Cynthia Lum

Cynthia Lum

Cynthia Lum

University Professor

Policing, police organizations, patrol and investigations operations, police technologies, evidence-based crime policy and translational criminology

Dr. Cynthia Lum is Distinguished University Professor of Criminology, Law and Society and director of George Mason University’s Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. She is a leading authority on evidence-based policing, an approach that advocates that research, evaluation, and scientific processes should have “a seat at the table” in law enforcement policymaking and practice. She has studied and written extensively about patrol operations and police crime prevention activities, police technology, investigations and detective work, and evidence-based crime policy. Additionally, she has developed numerous tools and strategies to translate and institutionalize research into everyday law enforcement operations. For her efforts, she received the 2017 inaugural Mason Presidential Medal for Excellence in Social Impact and the 2020 Virginia State Council for Higher Education Outstanding Faculty Award.

Professor Lum is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Criminology. She is an appointed member of the Committee on Law and Justice (CLAJ) for the National Academies of Sciences (NAS), and has served on the NAS’s ad hoc committees on Proactive Policing and Evidence to Advance Reform in the Global Security and Justice Sectors. She is Board Trustee of the Council on Criminal Justice, a Board Director for the National Police Foundation, and has served numerous elected and appointed positions within the American Society of Criminology. She is the founding editor of Translational Criminology Magazine and was the first North American Editor for the Oxford Journal Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice. Dr. Lum is a Fulbright alum and is the co-Founder/Director of the International Summer School for Policing Scholarship, developed with Nick Fyfe at the Scottish Institute for Policing Research and with partners at Arizona State University. 

Her book with Christopher Koper, Evidence-Based Policing: Translating Research Into Practice (Oxford University Press), received the American Society of Criminology Division of Policing 2020 Outstanding Book Award. Professors Lum and Koper are the Editors-In-Chief of Criminology and Public Policy, the flagship policy journal of the American Society of Criminology.  

Selected Publications

Only select publications from 2021-2022 are listed. For full publication list, see Cynthia Lum's C.V.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [Committee member and contributing author]. (2022). Evidence to Advance Reform in the Global Security and Justice Sectors: Compilation of Reports (five volumes). Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Lum, C., Maupin, C., & Stoltz, M. (2022). The Supply and Demand Shifts in Policing at the Start of the Pandemic: A National Multi-Wave Survey of the Impacts of COVID-19 on American Law Enforcement. Police Quarterly.

Goodier, M., & Lum, C. (2022). First Point of Contact: Can Procedural Justice be Applied by Emergency Calltakers? Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice.

Wu, X., Koper, C.S., & Lum, C. (2022). Measuring the impacts of everyday police proactive activities: Tackling the endogeneity problem. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 38, 343-363.

Lum, C. (2022). A vision for police reform: Policing as an intellectual profession. The Police Chief, September 2022, 76-81.

Lum, C., Koper, C. S., & Wu, X. (2022). Can we really defund the police? A nine-agency study of police response to calls for service. Police Quarterly, 25(3), 255-280.

Koper, C.S., Lum, C., Wu, X., Johnson, W., & Stoltz, M. (2022). Do license plate readers enhance the initial and residual deterrent effects of police patrol? A quasi-randomized test. Journal of Experimental Criminology, Journal of Experimental Criminology, 18, 725-746.

Wu, X., Lum, C., & Koper, C.S. (2021). Do everyday proactive policing activities reduce vehicle crashes? Examining a commonly held law enforcement belief using a novel method. Journal of Criminal Justice, 76, 101846.

Prince, H., Lum, C., & Koper, C.S. (2021). Effective police investigative practices: An evidence-assessment of the research. Policing: An International Journal (of Strategies and Management), 44(4), 683-707.

Koper, C.S., Wu, X., & Lum, C. (2021). Calibrating police activity across hot spot and non-hot spot areas. Police Quarterly, 24(3), 382-406.

Lum, C. Perspectives on Policing. (2021). Annual Review of Criminology, 4, 19-25.

Koper, C.S., Lum, C., Wu, X., & Hegarty, T. (2021). The Long-Term and System-Level Impacts of Institutionalizing Hot Spot Policing in a Small City. Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice, DOI: 10.1093/police/paaa096.


Expanded Publication List

See CV.

Grants and Fellowships

(Active grants only; for full grant list, see CV.)

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (with PI: Burch, J., Co-PIs: Dong, B., Engel, R.). Understanding the Application, Recruitment, Retention, and Careers of Police Officers: A Longitudinal Study. National Policing Institute ($186,401).

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Co-PI: Koper, C.S.). Evidence-Based Assessment of Seattle Police Department Investigations. Seattle Police Department ($121,363).

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (with Koper, C.S., also PI). Institutionalizing and Sustaining an Evidence-Based and Problem-Oriented Approach in Suffolk County Police Department. Bureau of Justice Assistance (via Suffolk County Police Department) Grant # 15PBJA-21-GG-04371-SMTP (GMU portion: $397,846).

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (with Koper, C.S., also PI). Evidence-Based Policing Course for the State of New York. New York Division of Criminal Justice Services. ($49,932).

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (with Christopher Koper, also PI). Preventing, preparing, & responding to COVID-19: an in-depth case study on the impacts of COVID-19 on Fairfax County Police Department. FCPD/Bureau of Justice Assistance. ($236,663).

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (with Christopher Koper, also PI). Improving the Investigation, Clearance Rates, and Victim Restoration of Robberies: A Randomized Controlled Experiment. National Institute of Justice Grant# 2019-R2-CX-0024 ($548,246).

EDITORS IN CHIEF (with Christopher Koper). American Society of Criminology. Criminology and Public Policy ($257,390).

CO-PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (PI: Tom Carr). GMU-HIDTA. Office of National Drug Control Policy. (Total funding as of 2021: $18,065,537).

Courses Taught

CRIM 100 Introduction to Criminal Justice

CRIM 401 Policing in America

CRIM 405 Law and Justice Around the World

CRIM 491/492 Administration of Justice Honors Seminar

CRIM 595 Evidence-Based Policing

CRIM 760 Evidence-Based Crime Policy (formerly Crime and Crime Policy)

CRIM 795 Research Advancing Fairness and Effectiveness in Policing

CPET 0100-D74 Evidence-Based Policing: A Course for Practitioners (GMU Continuing Education Program)

OLLI Courses on Crime Prevention, Criminological Theory, and Contemporary Criminal Justice Issues

International Summer School for Policing Scholarship


Ph.D., Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland (2003)
MSc., Criminology, London School of Economics (1996)
B.A., Political Science, University of California Los Angeles (1995)
B.A., Economics, University of California Los Angeles (1995)

Recent Presentations

See CV.

In the Media


Dissertations Supervised

Heather Prince, Are Those Teenagers Really Up to No Good? Developing a Predictive Model of Juvenile Crime (2022)

Sang Jun Park, Examining the "Law of Crime Concentrations" Across Multiple Jurisdictions (2019)

Jacqueline Amber Scherer, Identifying Effective Strategies for Robbery Investigations: An Examination of Organizational, Procedural, and Individual Characteristics (2019)

Gregory Jones, Enhancing Patrol Deployment Strategy and Deployment Efficiency of Police Managers by Utilizing Automated Vehicle Locator Technology (2018)

Heather Vovak, Examining the Relationship between Crime Rates and Clearance Rates Using Dual Trajectory Analysis (2016)

Julie Grieco, Attitudinal Dimensions and Openness to Evidence-Based Policing: Perspectives of Academy Recruits (2016)

Ajima Olaghere, The Everyday Activities That Bind for Crime: Investigating the Process of Routine Activities at Specific Places (2015)