Gary LaFree

Lafee
Founding Director, START
Distinguished University Professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
University of Maryland
Investigator
Phone
301-405-3008
Biography:

Dr. Gary LaFree was the Founding Director of START, and is currently the Distinguished University Professor of the University of Maryland's 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.

Background

Education:
  • Indiana University, Ph.D., 1979
  • Indiana University, M.A., 1975
  • Indiana University, A. B., 1973, Magna Cum Laude; Phi Beta Kappa; with special honors in History
Honors:
  • Distinguished Service Award, US Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, 2012
  • Distinguished Scholar Teacher Award, University of Maryland, 2012
  • University Dean’s Medal, University of Maryland, College of Behavioral and Social Science, 2011
  • Certificate of Recognition, US Department of Homeland Security, Science and Technology Directorate, University Programs, for development of the Global Terrorism Database (shared with Laura Dugan and START staff), 2009
  • Elected as Fellow, American Society of Criminology, 2006
  • Intelligence and Security Informatics Award for Best Research Paper, with Laura Dugan and Heather Fogg, San Diego CA, 2006
  • President, American Society of Criminology, 2005-2006
  • Member, National Consortium on Violence Research, 2000-2008
  • Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship, “Characteristics and Determinants of Global Homicide Crime Waves,” 1999
  • G. Paul Sylvestre Award for outstanding achievements in advancing criminal justice statistics, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1994
  • Phillip Hoke National Awards for Excellence in Analysis, Justice Research Statistics Association, 1994, 1998
  • Harry Frank Guggenheim Fellowship, "Race and Crime in Postwar America," 1992-93
  • University of New Mexico Presidential Lectureship for excellence in teaching and research, 1984-86
Professional Experience:
  • Distinguished University Professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2022-Present
  • Chair, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, 2018-2022
  • Director, National Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, University of Maryland, January 2005-2018
  • Professor, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Faculty Affiliate, Department of Sociology, University of Maryland, January 2000-present
  • Founding Member, Democracy Collaborative, University of Maryland, January 2001-December 2005
  • Professor Emeritus, Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, January 2000
  • Professor, Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, May 1990-December 1999
  • Director, Institute for Social Research, University of New Mexico, July 1996-June 1999
  • Chair, Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, August 1991-August 1996
  • Associate Chair, Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, January-August, 1991
  • Director, New Mexico Criminal Justice Statistics Analysis Center, Institute for Criminal Justice Studies, June 1988-2001
  • Acting Chair, Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, December 1987-June 1988
  • Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Mew Mexico, 1983-1989
  • Visiting Associate Professor, Centro de Investigaciones Penales y Criminologicas, Universidad de los Andes, Merida, Venezuela, Summer 1987
  • Visiting Associate Professor, School of Law, University of New Mexico, 1984-1985
  • Director of Criminal Justice Program, Department of Sociology, University of New Mexico, 1984-1985

Lead Investigator on START Research Projects

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Selected Publications

Is Antifa a Terrorist Group? (Journal Article)
Lone-Offender Terrorists (Journal Article)
Policing Terrorism (Journal Article)
Terrorism and the Internet (Journal Article)

News References

Lessons from India (People Spotlight)
Policing Terrorism (Featured Research)