scholar. researcher. activist. 

Brooklynn K. Hitchens, M.A., is a doctoral candidate at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick in the sociology department. She is an urban/street ethnographer who embeds participatory action research (PAR) methods in her study of low-income Black girls and women in urban spaces. 


Her research investigates how low-income Black women and girls navigate crime and violence in urban spaces, specifically through the lens of race, class, and gender inequalities.


Her mixed method dissertation entitled “Coping in MurderTown USA: Street Life and Low-Income, Urban Black Women's Adaptations to Stressors in a Violent, Small City” uses street participatory action research (PAR) methods to examine the strain-violence and strain-crime relationship among low-income Black women and girls. 






Her dissertation is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Christiana Care Hospital’s Department of Medicine, the University of Delaware, as well as several fellowship sources including the American Association of University Women (AAUW), ASA Minority Fellowship Program, ASC Ruth Peterson Fellowship for Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and the Louis Bevier Dissertation Fellowship.


Her study includes primary data collection from street-identified Black women and girls ages 16 to 54 in two low-income and high-crime neighborhoods, the Northside and Westside, in Wilmington, Delaware. Dubbed “MurderTown USA” for its elevated rates of violent crime, Wilmington broke its homicide record in 2017—outpacing larger cities such as Chicago, Philadelphia, Trenton, and Baltimore. 

Her work has been featured in Sociological Forum, Race & Justice, Feminist Criminology, and the Journal of Black Psychology