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Dr. Ben Stickle conducts research and provides consultation on policing and crime prevention.



Benjamin F. Stickle, Ph.D., is a Professor of Criminal Justice Administration at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He teaches courses on policing, investigations, and qualitative research methods.

Ben began his involvement in policing in 1995 when he joined a local Police Explorer program. While earning a Bachelor’s in Sociology from Cedarville University, he worked full time as a security officer. After graduation, he joined the Bowling Green Police Department. Upon certification by the National Forensics Academy and IAI, he served as an Advanced Crime Scene Investigator. He later transferred to the Warren County Sheriffs’ Office and, a short time after, left to pursue a career in academia.

Ben and his family moved to Louisville, Kentucky, in 2012. He taught and coordinated the Criminal Justice Program for Campbellsville University’s Louisville campus. Simultaneously, he pursued a Ph.D. in Justice Administration at The University of Louisville. Ben’s dissertation involved fieldwork with active criminals (metal thieves), leading to an innovative book on the topic. During this time, he served twice as president of the Kentucky Peace Officers’ Association and as a member of the Kentucky Law Enforcement Council.

In 2016 Ben began as an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice Administration with Middle Tennessee State University. While at MTSU, Ben has distinguished himself with multiple teaching and research awards and provides important leadership to the department and university. During this time, Ben has published widely in journals such as the American Journal of Criminal Justice, The European Journal of Criminology, Police Practice & Research, and Policing. In addition to his book on metal theft, Metal Scrappers and Thieves (Palgrave), he has edited two books; Field Studies in Environmental Criminology (Routledge) and Police Behavior, Hiring and Crime Fighting (Routledge), and published dozens of other works. Ben’s scholarship has resulted in several international speaking engagements and over 150 media interviews, including NBC Investigative Reporting, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, and Good Morning America.

Ben is actively engaged in practitioner-researcher partnerships. Leveraging his unique background has allowed numerous funded grant partnerships with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Rutherford County Correctional Work Center, Gallatin Police, Middle Tennessee Rural Reentry Program, and others.

In addition to his grant work and teaching, Ben is a Senior Fellow for Criminal Justice with the Beacon Center of Tennessee, an Affiliated Faculty with the Political Economy Research Institute (MTSU), and serves on the Executive Board of the Southern Criminal Justice Association. His current research focus includes package theft, police use of force and management, and emerging crime types (i.e., pet theft, crime in the sharing economy, and crime during COVID).

Ben lives outside of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, with his wife and children.

Selected Awards & Honors
  • Global Thought Leaders & Influencers (#1 for Health & Safety, #5 for COVID Business Impact, #10 for Risk Management, #21 in Supply Chain Management), Thinkers 360 (2021)

  • Distinguished Research Award, Middle Tennessee State University (2020)

  • McGraw Hill Distinguished Scholar Award, Ethnographic & Qualitative Research Conference (2020)

  • Stanford M. Lyman Distinguished Book Award for Metal Scrappers and Thieves: Scavenging for Survival and Profit, Mid-South Sociological Association (2019)
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Commerce around the world is shifting rapidly as online consumers have products delivered directly to their front door. As a result, a new form of crime has emerged and is gaining popularity—porch piracy. To learn more about package theft and porch pirates, review the scholarly publications, practitioner articles, and related media appearances.


In Metal Scrappers and Thieves: Scavenging for Survival and Profit, Dr. Stickle explores the little-known world of scrappers and metal thieves, traversing this criminal subculture in the thieves’ and scrappers’ own underground communities. Dive into the underground scrapper community with Ben and learn about metal theft motivations, thievery techniques, and more.

Metal theft, Copper theft, Aluminum theft, Brass theft, Scrap metal theft, Industrial metal stealing, Construction site metal
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