A Department of Homeland Security Emeritus Center of Excellence led by the University of Maryland

Understanding Domestic Terrorism in the United States


Understanding Domestic Terrorism in the United States

Date: 
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Time: 
1:00pm - 2:00pm
Location: 

START Headquarters

On Wednesday, November 20 at 1:00pm, START Founding Director Dr. Gary LaFree will give a lecture at START headquarters. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated. If you are not a START affiliate, please email Eva Coll (escoll@umd.edu) if you're interested in attending for more information.

In 2012, a team from START submitted a successful National Institute of Justice (NIJ) grant to study domestic terrorism. This was the beginning of the Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS) data set.  Since then, START has received many other NIJ awards to support PIRUS and the data have been used for a string of academic publications, reports and policy briefings. The PIRUS data have now grown to include extensive information on over 2,100 violent and nonviolent extremists across the ideological spectrum who radicalized in the United States from 1948 to 2017. In this presentation, LaFree will talk about several of the most recent research projects that have been based on the PIRUS data. He will begin by considering some of the strongest correlates of violent political extremism identified in the PIRUS data. Next, he will talk about the extent to which political extremists resemble gang members and how being imprisoned is related to the use of violence among political extremists.  Finally, he will consider what PIRUS can tell us about the different roles leaders and followers play in extremist groups.

Dr. Gary LaFree was the Founding Director of START at the University of Maryland and is currently the Chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from Indiana University in 1979. LaFree is a fellow of the American Society of Criminology (ASC) and served as President of the ASC in 2005 to 2006. He has also served on the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Crime, Law and Justice Committee and NAS’s Division of Behavioral and Economic Sciences and Education. He was named a Distinguished Scholar Teacher at the University of Maryland in 2012. Much of LaFree's research is related to understanding criminal violence, and he is the senior member of the team that created and now maintains the Global Terrorism Database.