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Dr. Joel Caplan

Professor and M.A. Program Director


Ph.D. (2008) University of Pennsylvania

Office Location

CLJ, 548

Areas of Specialization

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM)
Crime Prevention
Community Engagement
Algorithmic Justice

Joel Caplan has been on the faculty since 2008 and serves as Director of the SCJ Master’s Program and Director of the Rutgers Center on Public Security (RCPS). He co-developed Risk Terrain Modeling (RTM), a geospatial diagnostic technique used by public safety and security agencies around the world. Joel’s applied research focuses on GIS mapping, data-informed community engagement and crime prevention. He has professional experience as a police officer, 9-1-1 dispatcher and emergency medical technician. He earned his PhD in social welfare from the University of Pennsylvania.





Recent & Key Publications

Berryessa, C. M., & Caplan, J. M. (2020). Cognitive and affective processing of risk information: A Survey experiment on risk-based decision-making related to crime and public safety. Frontiers in Psychology

Drawve, G.,  Kennedy, L. W., Caplan, J. M. & Sarkos, J. (2020, online first). Risk of robbery in a tourist destination: A monthly examination of Atlantic City, New Jersey. Journal of Place Management and Development.

Caplan, J. M., Kennedy, L. W., & Neudecker, C. H. (2020, online first). Cholera deaths in Soho, London, 1854: Risk terrain modeling for epidemiological investigations. PLOS ONE, 1-11.

Boxer, P., Drawve, G., & Caplan, J. M. (2020, online first). Neighborhood Violent Crime and Academic Performance: A Geospatial Analysis. American Journal of Community Psychology, 1-10.

Caplan, J. M., Kennedy, L. W., Piza, E. L. & Barnum, J. D. (2019). Using vulnerability and exposure to improve robbery prediction and target area selection. Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, 1-24. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281670034

Drawve, G., Caplan, J. M., & Ostermann, M. (2019). Utilizing a risk of crime measure for recidivism research: Moving environmental corrections forward. Crime & Delinquency, 65, 606-629.

Caplan, J. M., Kennedy, L. W. & Piza, E. L.(2018).  Risk-Based Policing:  Evidence-Based Crime Prevention with Big Data and Spatial Analytics.  Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Feng, S., Piza, E. L., Kennedy, L. W., & Caplan, J. M.  (2018). Aggravating effects of alcohol outlet types on street robbery and aggravated assault in New York City. Journal of Crime and Justice, 42, 257-273.

Caplan, J. M. & Kennedy, L. W. (2016). Risk terrain modeling: Crime prediction and risk reduction. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.