Student’s Crime Data Research Attracts National Ethics Symposium Attention

Jonathan (Jake) Bates
Jonathan (Jake) Bates

April 8, 2014                   

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Illinois Wesleyan University senior Jonathan (Jake) Bates will participate in a national ethics symposium as a result of his analysis of crime data and its importance in ensuring police departments deliver services equitably.

The April 10-12 symposium at DePauw University will include discussions of Bates’ work, which grew out of senior-year research projects studying geographical patterns of reported criminal incidents in the Town of Normal. An economics and political science double major, Bates’ work indicated that, in some cases, policing efforts that reduce crime in one neighborhood increase it in another area.

“This got us thinking about potential unintended or unforeseen consequences of policing,” said Bates, who was working with the help of Diego Mendez-Carbajo, associate professor of economics. Drawing on his experience as a member of Illinois Wesleyan’s award-winning Ethics Bowl team, Bates explored the ethical implications of allocating finite police resources with the assistance of Assistant Professor of Philosophy Emily Kelahan.

“Ethical policing is when liberty, justice and protection are equitably and efficiently allocated to all residents of a town,” said Bates. “Analysis of crime data is a critical part of ensuring this equity and efficiency.”

Bates recently presented his work at the annual meetings of the Midwest Economics Association, and had previously shared his research with police departments in Normal and in Bloomington.

A native of Champaign, Ill., Bates is editor-in-chief of Undergraduate Economic Review, a peer-reviewed journal supporting economics research. He has also served as editor of The Intellectual Standard, an interdisciplinary academic journal, and The Park Place Economist, undergraduate journal of economics. He is also a member of the Philosophy Club and Economics Society in addition to his participation in the Ethics Bowl team.

Contact: Kim Hill, (309) 556-3960