Oroville Dam's close call shows regulatory need to account for climate change

March 2017

Nícola Ulibarrí, Assistant Professor of Planning, Policy and Design, wrote a feature for The Sacramento Bee. In light of the recent events with Oroville Dam, she educates readers on the need to "strengthen the regulatory process to ensure safer operations of dams." In this article, she outlines the steps needed to reduce the likelihood of the country's dams from failing.

AB 109 debate reignites after police say Whittier officer slain by parolee

February 2017

Charis Kubrin and Carroll Seron, Professors of Criminology, Law and Society, are featured in KABC-TV Los Angeles for their research on AB 109. Their research is the first and only systematic evaluation of AB 109, compiled of a series of papers which looks at crime data and statistics across the state before and after the implementation of AB 109. Citing research and many other factors, Kubrin cautions against drawing too many conclusions connecting criminal justice reform and crime without evidence in light of the recent statements Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper noted about the effects of the recent criminal justice reform.

Over time, nuisance flooding can cost more than extreme, infrequent events

February 2017

Long-term impact of climate change on US cities is rising, UCI researchers find

Global climate change is being felt in many coastal communities of the United States, not always in the form of big weather disasters but as a steady drip, drip, drip of nuisance flooding.

According to researchers at the University of California, Irvine, rising sea levels will cause these smaller events to become increasingly frequent in the future, and the cumulative effect will be comparable to extreme events such as Hurricane Katrina or Superstorm Sandy.

“Catastrophic storms get a lot of media attention and are studied, but we wanted to know more about the non-extreme events,” said Amir AghaKouchak, UCI associate professor of civil & environmental engineering and co-author of a new study on cumulative hazards in the American Geophysical Union journal Earth’s Future.

“These diffuse floods happen multiple times a month or year,” he said. “They don’t kill anyone, they don’t damage buildings, but over time they have extremely high-cost outcomes, and it happens without us realizing it.”

Lead author Hamed Moftakhari, a UCI postdoctoral scholar, said that people in often-hit regions have begun the process of adapting to the problem. “In a recent social science survey, people weren’t really interested in knowing the depth of the water. They just wanted to know how long they would be flooded,” he said. “Their main concern was finding out when they could get back to their schools and businesses.”

But public officials can’t afford to take cumulative hazards in stride, said co-author Richard Matthew, UCI professor of planning, policy & design. Policymakers faced with limited capital funds frequently defer action or make incremental improvements when major investments may be critical to fortify their communities. The team created a cumulative hazards index to pinpoint which locations would experience the greatest long-term risk.

Do immigrants increase crime?

February 2017

Charis Kubrin, Professor of Criminology, Law & Society is interviewed on KCRW 89.9FM to evaluate the accuracy of Trump's executive orders stating that undocumented immigrants “present a significant threat to national security and public safety.” In this interview, she cites research as to the actual amount of danger posed by immigrants.

Officers say Props 47 and 57 made the streets dangerous. But there's no proof.

February 2017

Charis Kubrin, Professor of Criminology, Law and Society, is interviewed by 89.3 KPCC's Take Two in light of the recent shooting that left a Whittier police officer dead. Despite the assumptions made by Whittier Police Chief Jeff Piper placing the blame on crime policies like Prop 47 and Prop 57, Kubrin states that there is no empirical evidence that these policies have actually contributed to the crime rate in the state of California. Ultimately, she illustrates that it is premature to assume there is a connection between Prop 47 and 57 and the current crime rates.