New Faculty Profile: Dr. James Wo

The Department of Sociology is thrilled to welcome Professor James Wo to our faculty. Professor Wo was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received his Ph.D. in Criminology, Law and Society, M.A. in Social Ecology and B. A. in Sociology (Summa Cum Laude) from the University of California, Irvine. His teaching and research areas are criminology, urban sociology, organizations, collective social action, research methods and statistics. His theoretical perspective draws from criminology, organizational sociology, and geography to examine the critical components of social organization within neighborhoods, how these components affect mechanisms of collective social action, and the consequences of such action for neighborhood crime.


Assistant Professor James Wo

Professor Wo’s research focuses on how neighborhoods change over time, how that change both affects and is affected by neighborhood crime, and the role land uses and community organizations play in that change. His recent research merges his interest in urban sociology and crime rates. Using data on Los Angeles census tracts from 2010-2012, he examines effects of both concentrated disadvantage (measured by economic hardship, family disruption, and educational level) and neighborhood violent crime rates on spatial distribution of nonprofit organizations. The vital resources nonprofit organizations contribute to neighborhood revitalization underscore the importance of Professor Wo’s recent study. His research reveals that neighborhoods having low violent crime within high violent crime areas have the largest increase in nonprofit density.  His research further reveals that neighborhoods of high concentrated disadvantage experienced levels of nonprofit density that somewhat exceeded the level of nonprofit density found in low disadvantage neighborhoods.

Professor Wo’s study provides original insights relevant to urban sociology and neighborhood development overtime. Professor Wo’s research has appeared in Social Science Review, Criminology, Crime and Delinquency, Journal of School Violence, and Siam Journal of Applied Mathematics. In addition, Professor Wo has contributed numerous book chapters and encyclopedia entries related to collective efficacy, neighborhood structures, and crime.

Professor Wo is not all work!  He reports a love for basketball, reading, and watching movies.

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