The Nation: Running Out of Riots

When cities started erupting into racial violence during the 1960s, dangerously little was known about the phenomenon of urban rioting. Brandeis University founded the Lemberg Center for the Study of Violence in 1966, and it began analyzing the causes of civic disturbances, charting their numbers, and advising community leaders on ways of handling and preventing them. The center stressed the importance of contingency planning for all situations, the usefulness of third-party negotiations and the importance of maintaining the trust of violence-prone groups.

Recently, large-scale civic disruptions have dwindled in number. The Lemberg staff has dwindled as well, from 30 persons at the...

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