Alex Luscombe

Alex Luscombe

PhD Candidate in Criminology

University of Toronto

About Me

I am an independent research consultant and PhD Candidate in criminology at the University of Toronto. From 2017-2021, I was a Junior Fellow at Massey College. I conduct research in the areas of policing and social control, criminal justice policy, social inequality, data justice and information politics, and computational social science. As a consultant, I have worked for numerous Canadian private and public sector agencies, as well as international organizations like the OECD and Public Law Project.

My academic research has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Social Forces, British Journal of Criminology, Quality & Quantity, Canadian Journal of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Sociology, and International Political Sociology, and has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Sociological Association, and the Government of Ontario. I am the co-editor of two academic books, Freedom of Information and Social Science Research Design (Routledge, 2019) and Changing of the Guards: Private Influences, Privatization, and Criminal Justice in Canada (UBC Press, 2022).

Since 2018, I have been a member of the editorial board of the University of Toronto publication, Criminological Highlights. From April 2020-July 2021, I co-led the Policing the Pandemic Mapping Project in partnership with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. Beyond my research, I am an avid rock climber, mountain biker, and cross-country skiier.

Recent Posts

RVerbalExpressions: A Helpful Tool for Learning Regex in R

In a previous post, I explained how we can use regular expressions or "regex" in R to parse our text data. Turns out there is a very useful R library for crafting regular expressions, especially in the early stages of learning the notation.


Algorithmic thinking in the public interest: navigating technical, legal, and ethical hurdles to web scraping in the social sciences

Web scraping, defined as the automated extraction of information online, is an increasingly important means of producing data in the social sciences. We contribute to emerging social science literature on computational methods by elaborating on web …

Race, Cannabis and the Canadian War on Drugs: An Examination of Cannabis Arrest Data by Race in Five Cities

The enforcement of drug laws in the United States has been heavily racialized. A substantial proportion of individuals arrested and prosecuted for drug possession in America are Black and Latino, despite similar rates of drug use across racial …

Freedom of Information Research and Cultural Studies: A Subterranean Affinity

Introducing the idea of subterranean affinity, this article explores how methodological use of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests can contribute to the field of cultural studies. Contributing to literatures on transparency and secrecy, we consider …