Gary Kleck, College of Criminology.

Professor Kleck’s recent research has found that employing more police officers or increasing police productivity in the form of more arrests per officer has no measurable effect on the public’s level of fear of crime.  Other recent research found that support for harsher punishment of criminals is not affected by a person’s exposure to crime as a crime victim, living in a high-crime area, or knowing others who have been victimized.  Nor is it affected by their fear of crime or perceived risk of future victimization.  Instead, Americans’ punitiveness is driven by frequent viewing of local TV news, race (being white rather than black), and residence in a politically conservative area.  Other recent research found that serious property offending (robbery, burglary) is unrelated to official unemployment (jobless and actively seeking employment) but instead is related to being out of the labor force – lacking a job and not actively seeking one.  Finally, other research suggests that the use of large-capacity magazines by mass shooters does not affect the number of victims they kill or injure, mainly because nearly all mass shooters use multiple guns and/or multiple magazines, and therefore do not need large-capacity magazines to fire many rounds without reloading.

Research Interests

Gun Control | Deterrence | Crime Control | Violence


Ph.D. 1979, University of Illinois at Urbana; Sociology

M.A. 1975, University of Illinois at Urbana; Sociology

B.A. 1973, University of Illinois, with High Honors and with Distinction; Sociology


1994: "The Impact of Drug Enforcement on Urban Drug Use Levels and Crime Rates." $9,500 awarded by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

1997: "Testing a Fundamental Assumption of Deterrence-Based Crime Control Policy." $80,590 awarded by the Charles E. Culpeper Foundation to study the link between actual and perceived punishment levels.

Recent Publications

Kleck, Gary. 2015. “The impact of gun ownership rates on crime rates: a methodological review of the evidence” Journal of Criminal Justice 43(1):40-48.

Kleck, Gary. 2015. “Defensive gun ownership is not a myth: why my critics still have it wrong” Politico Magazine, February 17.

Gary Kleck, James C. Barnes. 2014. “Do More Police Generate More Crime Deterrence?” Crime and Delinquency.

Jongyeon Tark and Gary Kleck. 2014. “Resisting rape: the effects of victim self-protection on rape completion and injury” Violence Against Women 23(3): 270-292.

Gary Kleck and J. C. Barnes. 2014. “Do more police generate more crime deterrence?” Crime and Delinquency 60(5):716-738.

Selected Publications

Kleck, Gary, Brion Sever, Spencer Li, and Marc Gertz. 2005. “The Missing Link in General Deterrence Research.” Criminology 43(3):623-659.

Kleck, Gary and Jongyeon Tark. 2005. “Resisting Crime: The Effects of Victim Action on the Outcomes of Crimes.” Criminology 42(4):861-909.

Kleck, Gary. 1997. Targeting Guns: Firearms and their Control. Hawthorne, N.Y.: Aldine de Gryter,

Kleck, Gary and Marc Gertz. 1995. “Armed Resistance to Crime: the Prevalence and Nature of Self-defense with a Gun.” Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology 86(1):150-187.

Kleck, Gary. 1991. Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America. Hawthorne, N.Y.:Aldine de Gruyter. Winner of the Michael J. Hindelang Award of the American Society of Criminology.