Noted criminologist Simon Singer returns to UB to discuss Amherst as one of country’s safest cities

To understand delinquency, we must understand how it operates in well-to-do towns

Release Date: October 22, 2014 This content is archived.

Simon Singer, criminologist.

Simon Singer.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The town of Amherst, N.Y., an affluent suburb of Buffalo, is frequently listed among the safest in the United States. The town’s role in creating and maintaining that reputation is now the subject of a book by Simon Singer, a noted figure in juvenile justice research who was for 20 years a professor of sociology at the University at Buffalo.

Singer, now a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University, will be at UB in November to present two free public talks about his book, “America’s Safest City: Delinquency and Modernity in Suburbia” (NYU Press), a unique and comprehensive case study of delinquency in Amherst that illuminates the roots of juvenile offending and deviance in modern society.

His visit is sponsored by the UB Department of Sociology and the university’s Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy. The public is invited to his talks at two different times and locations:

  • Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m., Center for Tomorrow, Flint Road at Service Center Road, UB North Campus.
  • Friday, Nov. 7 at 12:30 p.m., Baldy Center, 411 O’Brian Hall, UB North Campus. His presentation will be followed by a question and answer period until 2 p.m.

Singer’s book explains how a large suburb like Amherst can be viewed as a modern-day, 21st-century city in part because of its success in preventing its middle-class youth from becoming high delinquency offenders.

Drawing on observation, interviews and surveys of Amherst youth, their parents and town officials, Singer provides a comprehensive analysis of the reasons for delinquency.  He introduces a modern theory of offending and its control, and moves the analysis of delinquency beyond its focus on the early 20th-century inner-city to consider how it operates in the contemporary world of “safe-city” youth.

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