"Irreplaceable" Criminologist Scott Decker '72 Leaves St. Louis for Arizona State West University

"Irreplaceable" Criminologist Scott Decker '72 Leaves St. Louis for Arizona State West University

June 27, 2006

Scott Decker 2006.jpgJune 27, 2006, Greencastle, Ind. - "Scott Decker's idea of scholarly research included getting burglars to drive him around and explain their techniques," begins a St. Louis Post-Dispatch feature on the 1972 DePauw University graduate, who has left the University of Missouri at St. Louis for a professorship at Arizona State West University. "He well remembers one of them explaining he once picked a target because, 'I just heard that house singing to me.' There were interviews with female burglars who described flirting in bars in search of a braggart eager to impress a young woman with talk of his wealth and possessions. Decker engaged in countless conversations with gang members and criminals of all stripes in a 29-year quest to understand what drives them -- and to apply it to the nationally ranked criminal justice department at the University of Missouri at St. Louis."

Decker has chaired that department for 15 years, but as of this week is off "to head an expanded criminology program at Arizona State West University, where he said there is a promise of better resources," writes Robert Patrick.

In the article, St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa calls Dr. Decker an "institution" who is "irreplaceable... He was so intricately involved in so many aspects of the criminal justice system. He was just so immersed on a national level and on the local level that we really relied on a lot of his insights." Patrick adds that Decker's "connections helped win or maintain grants for crime-fighting initiatives, Mokwa said. Decker provided insight when crime numbers jumped or tumbled. He could tell police, politicians and the public 'what caused crime and what the crime numbers meant' and help differentiateeast college with trees.jpg the effects of law enforcement from the effects of social factors such as poverty."

Former U.S. Attorney Jim Martin says, in addition to helping agencies procure grants, Decker "also gave an awful lot of his own time because he cared about law enforcement and the communities that have been riddled with crime. Just because he cared."

Read the complete story, headlined "Law officers lament loss of criminologist," at the newspaper's Web site.

Last month, Scott Decker was profiled by the Associated Press. Read more here.