Steven Messner Professor, Department of Sociology

Phone: (518) 442-4674
Office: Arts & Sciences 302

Personal Website


Messner is a sociologist interested in describing and then explaining aggregate crime trends at the national, regional and city level. Crime, unlike more cyclical phenomenon like unemployment, shows long term drifts upwards, and then downwards.  These patterns of change virtually require more structural explanations, that rely on changes in key social institutions like families.  For example, Messner and his colleagues are responsible for work that shows that crime at the national level follows patterns of divorce.  Messner is also responsible for applying and introducing sophisticated statistical techniques to the time series study of crime.   He is also known for work that pays attention to the important methodological issues that arise in cross-national studies of crime. 

Messner has a high profile in both sociology and criminology.  He serves as the deputy editor of the American Sociological Review, and is the current president of the American Society of Criminology.  Messner is known for his interdisciplinary collaborations and his ability to bring theory to empirical work in a way that can inform policy.  He has extensive involvement in teaching, as reflected in his promotion to rank of Distinguished Teaching Professor and his receipt of the university’s Award for Excellence in Teaching.  His editorial activities are extensive and he has held elected offices in numerous professional societies.

Messner has collaborated with Chinese researchers in conjunction with NSF supported criminal victimization survey in Tianjin, China.  His currently funded NSF project (with Lening Zhang) titled “Neighborhood Social Control and Disorder in Contemporary Urban China” examines the distinctive organizational mechanisms intended to control disorder in contemporary urban China.

| FAX 518.442.3380 |

Copyright © Center for Social and Demographic Analysis. All Rights Reserved.