Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, Ph.D.

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo Headshot
Professor
Director of the Ph.D. Criminal Justice Program

Criminal Justice Department
Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences

Research Director of the , a student-focused collaboration between the Lee College and Pompea College of Business.

See Full CV

Education

Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, University at Albany, SUNY, 2011
M.S. in Criminal Justice, Northeastern University, 2002
B.A./M.A. in Psychology, Moscow State University (Russia), 1998

About Maria

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo is an expert in crime trends and patterns, the causes of violence, juvenile crime, and the connections between poverty and violence.

Her research focuses on the structural causes of violence and homicide: poverty, education, and family structure. She also studies the interplay of these factors with family-level issues, like child abuse and neglect, and with individual circumstances, including mental health issues, tendencies towards risky behaviors, and life valuation.

She has also conducted a systematic analysis of major criminological theories and their empirical tests to explore the role of poverty in explaining crime. With National Institute of Justice funding, she examined how changes in school accountability laws impacted juvenile delinquency.

With the support of the National Institute of Justice, Dr. Tcherni-Buzzeo also examined whether the decreases in violent crime in recent decades could be attributed to the rising rate of psychotropic medications being prescribed to children and adolescents to treat ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental health disorders.

Analyzing state-level data over the last 25 years and using official statistics and findings from longitudinal surveys of youth, Dr. Tcherni-Buzzeo found no clear evidence that psychiatric medications played a role in the decrease in violent crime.

Her study found that two factors did play a role in the decreasing violent crime rate: decreases in child poverty at the state level – that were associated with state-level decreases in juvenile violence – and increases in school-based services for children with learning and cognitive disabilities that led to decreases in juvenile violence.

Dr. Tcherni-Buzzeo’s findings correlate with current studies that show truancy prevention programs decrease delinquency and crime among adolescents. She continues to study the impact of school-based services. Her objective is to develop findings that can be translated into effective policy solutions.

She has published extensively, authoring many peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and commentaries. Her work includes the chapter "The Great American Crime Decline: Possible Explanations" in the Handbook on Crime and Deviance; "The Dark Figure of Online Property Crime: Is Cyberspace Hiding a Crime Wave?" in Justice Quarterly; and "Food for Thought: Ideas for Those Teaching Criminology" in ACJS Today. A frequent op-ed contributor on topics including gun control and crime rates and juvenile crime, she is regularly asked by the media to speak on issues around violent crime.

She received her B.A. and M.A. from Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia, her M.S. from Northeastern University, and her Ph.D. from the University at Albany’s (SUNY) School of Criminal Justice.

Recently Published Books and Articles

Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. & Pyrczak, F. (in press). Evaluating research in academic journals: A practical guide to realistic evaluation (8th edition). Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

Tosto*, S. A., Alyahya*, J., Espinoza*, V., McCarthy*, K., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2023). Online learning in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: Mixed methods analysis of student views by demographic group. Social Sciences & Humanities Open, 8(1), 100598.

Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2023). Increased prescribing of psychotropic drugs or school-based services for children with disabilities? Associations of these self-control-boosting strategies with juvenile violence at the state level. Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology, [online first].

Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2023). Dietary interventions, the gut microbiome, and aggressive behavior: Review of research evidence and potential next steps. Aggressive Behavior, 49 (1), 15-32.

Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2019). The "Great American Crime Decline": Possible explanations. In M.D. Krohn et al. (Eds.), Handbook on Crime and Deviance (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.

Pyrczak F., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2018). Evaluating research in academic journals: A practical guide to realistic evaluation. Routledge (Taylor & Francis). ISBN: 978-0815365662

Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2018). Measuring juvenile crime to compare trends among U.S. states: Secondary data analysis. SAGE Research Methods Cases. 10.4135/9781526436962

Gottschalk, P., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2017). Reasons for gaps in crime reporting: The case of white-collar criminals investigated by private fraud examiners in Norway. Deviant Behavior, 38(3), 267-281.

Tcherni, M., Davies, A., Lopes, G., & Lizotte, A. (2016). The dark figure of online property crime: Is cyberspace hiding a crime wave? Justice Quarterly, 33(5), 890-911.

Bystrova, E., & Tcherni, M. (2015). Juvenile Justice in Russia. In M. D. Krohn & J. Lane (Eds.), The Handbook of Juvenile Delinquency and Juvenile Justice (pp.40-48). Wiley Blackwell.

Tcherni, M. (2014). Structural determinants of homicide. In A. Michalos (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer.

Tcherni, M. (2011). Structural determinants of homicide: The Big Three. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 27(4), 475-496.

Recent Conference Presentations

Tcherni-Buzzeo, M., Tosto, S. A., McCarthy, K., Espinoza, V., & Alyahya, J. (2022). Student perceptions of online learning: Lessons for faculty. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Tosto, S. A., Klee, P., Fanning, B., Hickey, J., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2022). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on community-based criminal justice services in Connecticut. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Klee, P., Tcherni-Buzzeo, M., Tosto, S. A., Fanning, B., & Hickey, J. (2022). Crime changes in Connecticut during the COVID-19 pandemic based on sociodemographic and economic area profiles. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Wadsworth, G., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2022). The effects of Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training at the 51e State Prison. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Geyer, P. M., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2022). Teaching about research ethics: Two of the most (in)famous studies. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV.

Tosto, S., Hickey, J., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2022). Educational indicators and their association with crime amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the State of Connecticut. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV.

Jenkins, M., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2022). Racialized media portrayals and police endorsement of police abuse of power. Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV.

Hickey, J., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2021). Schools and disorder: Factors associated with the school-to-prison pipeline and its possible disruption. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

Tayag, G., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2021). To a Brighter Future: Proposals for policy reforms to combat poverty and violence. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.

Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2019). Natural experiments to reduce poverty: Implications for major criminological theories. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Cornet, L., & Tcherni-Buzzeo, M. (2019). The potential role of the gut-brain axis in criminal behavior. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

Tcherni, M. (2018). IDEA-mandated school services for children with disabilities as an important factor in juvenile violence declines. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA.

Tcherni, M., Spano, R., & O’Brien, D. (2016). The role of poverty in explaining crime. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

O’Brien, D., Tcherni, M., & Spano, R. (2016). Operationalizing delinquency: An analysis of the most common methodologies used for criminological theory testing. American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

Grants

Tcherni-Buzzeo M. (2015). DOJ NIJ Data Resources Program.

Courses Taught
  • CJST 2205 Introduction to Forensic Psychology
  • CJST 2250 Scientific Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CJST 3311 Criminology
  • CJST 6605 Theories of Criminal Behavior
  • CJST 6611 Research Methods in Criminal Justice
  • CJST 7719 Psychology of Crime
  • CJST 7740 Professional Development
  • CJST 7772 Theories of Crime
  • CJST 7773 Crime Prevention Programs

In the Media

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, professor and director of the Ph.D. program in Criminal Justice, comments that crime is trending downward to pre-pandemic numbers.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, professor and director of the Ph.D. program in Criminal Justice, discusses her research on psychotropic medications reducing juvenile violence.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor and director of the Ph.D. program in Criminal Justice, comments on how Democrats and Republicans could work together on policies to reintegrate people who have served time in prison that will also keep others safe in the community.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor and director of the Ph.D. program in Criminal Justice, comments on a report finding that mental health and substance abuse disorders, or both, are a large part of the causality of the state's incarcerated prison population.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor and director of the Ph.D. Program in Criminal Justice, discusses how a bipolar episode may cause a person to become disconnected from reality, making them unable to gauge their actions.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor and director of the Ph.D. program in criminal justice, says crimes are most likely to happen between people that know each other than being perpetrated by a stranger.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor of criminal justice, says while other violent juvenile crimes are down, homicides by juveniles with guns are up.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor of criminal justice, talks about four teens arrested for the second time for using a ghost gun in a carjacking. One of the teens was wearing an ankle monitor for a case that’s still pending.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor and director of the Ph.D. in Criminal Justice program, says it is hard to judge a police chief by the crimes in an area, explaining other factors, such as a change in population and societal trends, have more influence.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor and director of the Ph.D. Criminal Justice Program, comments on the rise in homicides in 2020 and where it is taking place.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, an associate professor of criminal justice who is an expert on crime trends and patterns, was quoted in a feature about declining crime rates. The decrease in crime, she says, is part of a broader pattern of centuries of declining human violence.

In the Media

Maria Tcherni-Buzzeo, associate professor of criminal justice, shares her thoughts on what could be causing the increase in hate crimes in Washington, D.C..

The FBI released its crime statistics for 2016 last week, and there has already been a lot of discussion and commentary about the increases in murder and violent crime rates for a second year in a row.

Each year when the Federal Bureau of Investigation releases its statistics on crime, dozens of similar-sounding headlines pop up: "Crime rate down".

A Gallup polls shows fear about violent crime at a 15-year high.