Joshua D. Freilich

Joshua D. Freilich
City University of New York - John Jay College of Criminal Justice | John Jay CUNY · Department of Criminal Justice

About

131
Publications
73,060
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
2,821
Citations
Introduction
Joshua D. Freilich is the Creator and co-Director of the United States Extremist Crime Database (ECDB), an open source relational database of the violent & financial crimes committed by extremists in the U.S. Freilich’s research has been funded by DHS and NIJ. His reseach focuses on the causes of and responses to terrorism, measurement issues, criminology theory, and environmental criminology and crime prevention.
Additional affiliations
September 2003 - present
CUNY Graduate Center
Position
  • Faculty Member
September 2000 - present
City University of New York - John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Position
  • Professor (Full)

Publications

Publications (131)
Article
Full-text available
The overallaim of the review is to map the definitions and measurement tools used to capture the whole spectrum of hate motivated behaviors, including hate crime, hate speech and hate incidents. This will benefit the field of hate studies by providing a baseline that can inform the building of cumulative knowledge and comparative research. The firs...
Article
Full-text available
There is an ongoing need for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to detect and assess online posting behaviors of violent extremists prior to their engagement in violence offline, but little is empirically known about their online behaviors generally or the differences in their behaviors compared with nonviolent extremists who share simila...
Article
This study uses open source information to examine school shootings in the United States for the 1990–2016 period. We innovatively created a national-level database to address the gaps in existing research and identified 652 school shootings. These shootings included 473 intentional shootings (encompassing 354 with known offenders and 119 with unkn...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This policy note highlights the importance of both identifying and examining the online behaviors of violent and non-violent extremists in preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) and provides researchers, practitioners, and policymakers with a number of recommendations for detecting and analyzing the online behaviors of violent and non-...
Article
We used data from an Australian community register to build a database containing 673 incidents, including both criminal and non-criminal anti-Semitic acts that occurred between October 2013 and September 2017. We conducted bivariate and multivariate analyses to explore the differences in the types of incidents associated with different trigger eve...
Chapter
Open-source data is increasingly a source for studying criminal justice issues, especially those pertaining to hard-to-reach populations. Despite the growing popularity of open-source databases, relatively little research has assessed the process of database development, measured the reliability and validity of the end products, or attempted to int...
Article
This study applies routine activities theory to determine whether the characteristics of jihadi-inspired web defacements in the United States vary from all other defacements performed against IP addresses hosted within the United States from 2012 to 2016. We focus on target suitability variables and use a sample of over 2.2 million defacements repo...
Article
Lone-actor terrorists have increasingly attracted the attention of researchers, policymakers, and practitioners alike. Despite this enhanced interest, few studies have compared the outcomes of lone-actor terrorist attacks with other terrorists, and those that have do not consider the terrorists’ intention to kill in an attack. This study utilizes a...
Article
This study examines the pre-attack warning behaviors of adolescent school shooters in the US. We conducted 20 case studies of adolescent school shooters in the United States that committed non-fatal or fatal shootings on K-12 school grounds between 1999 and 2016. We investigate whether the school shooters displayed warning behaviors before the atta...
Article
Full-text available
Despite the ongoing need for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to identify and assess the online activities of violent extremists prior to their engagement in violence offline, little is empirically known about their online behaviors generally or differences in their posting behaviors compared to non-violent extremists who share similar...
Article
Full-text available
Whether hate crime against minority groups increases or decreases over time underpins important theoretical and policy questions. However, the ability to capture trends is limited due to a dearth of data and measurement problems, especially in countries where there is no official register of hate crime. Using Chile as a case study, we compare longi...
Article
Web defacement is a form of hacking that involves altering the content of a website, resulting in repairs to the website code, loss of revenue, internal loss of productivity, and reputational damage. Limited research has examined the frequency of web defacements, the factors that distinguish them from other hacking motives, and the extent to which...
Article
Full-text available
The theoretical literature from criminology, social movements, and political sociology, among others, includes diverging views about how political outcomes could affect movements. Many theories argue that political defeats motivate the losing side to increase their mobilization while other established models claim the winning side may feel encourag...
Article
Over the last decade, there has been an increased focus among researchers on the role of the Internet among actors and groups across the political and ideological spectrum. There has been particular emphasis on the ways that far-right extremists utilize forums and social media to express ideological beliefs through sites affiliated with real-world...
Article
This research examines the efficacy of 15 policy interventions and high-profile events on fatal violence committed by far-right extremists in the United States through the theoretical frameworks of deterrence, situational crime prevention, backlash, and political encouragement. We use a multivariate structural vector autoregressive process to analy...
Article
In this article, we argue that situational crime prevention (SCP) strategies can be used to prevent public mass violence, as well as to mitigate the harms caused from those attacks that still occur. We draw from the SCP perspective generally, and its application to terrorism particularly, as well as from the public mass violence literature. We focu...
Article
This paper compares the social media posts of ISIS foreign fighters to those of ISIS supporters. We examine a random sample of social media posts made by violent foreign fighters (n = 14; 2000 posts) and non-violent supporters (n = 18; 2000 posts) of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (overall n = 4,000 posts), from 2009 to 2015. We used a...
Chapter
International and Transnational Crime and Justice - edited by Mangai Natarajan June 2019
Article
Prior research has found gender to be associated with worry about crime and terrorism. We used World Values Survey data to assess gender differences in worry about terrorism across 54 nations. Analyses also examined the influence of individual- and national-level factors. Women were significantly more worried about terrorism in 22 of the 54 nations...
Article
Little attention has been paid to ideologically motivated tax protesters who use frivolous legal arguments as moral or legal justification for committing tax fraud and related financial crimes. These crimes have defrauded private citizens and governments and are associated with violent far-right extremism, negatively impacting public safety and sta...
Article
Although recent years have seen a great increase in the study of hate crime and terrorism, there is limited research to date that explores connections between hate crime and terrorism. This study uses a qualitative case-study method to explore the competing criminological theories of social learning and social control to investigate their utility i...
Article
Full-text available
In the aftermath of 9/11, the intersection of sensational media coverage, public fears, and political motivations has contributed to misconceptions about the nature of terrorism and the perpetrators of extremist violence. The current study uses data from the Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) and Global Terrorism Database (GTD) to address the myths of...
Article
This study explores the utility of a sociological model of social organization developed by Best and Luckenbill (1994) to classify the radicalization processes of terrorists (i.e., extremist perpetrators who engaged in ideologically motivated acts of violence) who are usually categorized as loner or lone wolf attackers. There are several organizati...
Article
Over the last two decades, there has been a massive increase in research examining terror and extremist-related violence. Few have considered the extent to which these same groups may engage in attacks against digital infrastructure and the Internet, whether through hacking or other methods. The absence of empirical evidence calls to question the n...
Article
Full-text available
It took the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City and, more importantly, the four coordinated attacks of September 11, 2001, to produce substantial interest among criminologists in the empirical study of violent political extremism. In the past two decades, this situation has changed dramatically with research on political ex...
Conference Paper
This study examines the content and context of Inspire Magazine, al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based, English-language publication. First issued in 2010, Inspire is an open-source journal conveying al-Qaeda’s organizational objectives, as well as coverage of its past triumphs and recommendations for future or fledgling members. Issues often contain interviews w...
Research
Research Fact Sheet: Far-Right Fatal Ideological Violence against Religious Institutions and Individuals in the United States: 1990-2018
Article
Media coverage of terrorist attacks plays an important role in shaping the public understanding of terrorism. While there have been studies analyzing coverage of incidents prior to 9/11, there has been little research examining post-9/11 coverage. This study fills this gap by examining coverage in the USA between the dates of 12 September, 2001 and...
Article
Full-text available
This study systematically reviews the Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) and terrorism literature published between 2006 and 2016. We examine several variables related to the backgrounds of authors, publication outlets, methods used, and countries and terrorist groups focused upon in these studies. We also investigate if studies have tested the pil...
Article
This article presents a systematic linguistic approach to mapping gender differences in the formulation and practice of right-wing ideology. We conducted a set of content-and text-analytical analyses on a 52,760 words corpus from a female-only subforum, dubbed LOTIES (Ladies of the Invisible Empire), compared with a matching corpus of 1.793 million...
Article
This study compares suicide and non-suicide incidents in the United States by analyzing data from the U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) on terrorist incidents committed by extreme far-right (FR) and radical Islamic terrorists between 1990 and 2014. Drawing from Situational Crime Prevention (SCP), we investigate whether suicide incidents are more...
Article
Research on radicalization to accept extremist ideologies has expanded dramatically over the last decade, particularly attempts to theorize pathways to violence. These models are complex, and contain aspects of key criminological frameworks including social learning and social control theories. At the same time, they do reconcile the inherent diffe...
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to compare the role honor and shame play in honor killings and anti-LGBTQ homicides by identifying similarities and differences across these two homicide types. Design/methodology/approach This study uses data from the US Extremist Crime Database (ECDB). Data for each of the incidents included in the ECDB are...
Article
Full-text available
Recent research has begun to explore the causes of organizational death for domestic far-right extremist groups. An important aspect that has not been examined is whether or not a group's participation in violence influences its longevity. This study addresses this gap in the literature by examining over 400 domestic far-right extremist groups that...
Article
This article examines ideologically motivated extreme-right fatal attacks in the United States since 1990. Aligning with this Special Issue's theme, our discussion centers exclusively on the unique threats posed by the extreme-right. We first define the American extreme-right movement and provide a brief review of the major data sources that are av...
Article
Full-text available
This study compared honor killings, domestic violence homicides, and hate homicides committed by far-right extremists. Prior research has suggested that terrorists may differ from “regular” offenders whereas others suggest similarities. Data from the Extremist Crime Database were used to compare honor killings committed in the United States since 1...
Article
Purpose This paper uses an environmental criminology and situational crime prevention (SCP) framework to study global assassinations carried out by terrorists. We set forth a series of hypotheses to explain successful and unsuccessful assassination incidents. Design/methodology/approach We use assassination data from the Global Terrorism Databas...
Article
Full-text available
This article uses environmental criminology and situational crime prevention (SCP) to devise a series of hypotheses to determine the factors that distinguish successful from unsuccessful assassination incidents. We analyzed a random sample of 100 successful and 100 unsuccessful assassination incidents from the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) that o...
Chapter
This article focuses on political crimes, specifically terrorism and hate crime. Both terrorism and hate crime are criminal activities that are often committed to further a political objective, as opposed to typical or regular crimes that are usually committed for personal reasons such as greed, revenge, or other personal motivations. Political mot...
Article
Research on physical, that is, violent, terror attacks and extremism has increased dramatically over the last decade. The growth of the Internet and computer technology has also led to concern over the use of cyberattacks by ideologically motivated offenders to cause harm and further their political and social agendas. There is, however, a lack of...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last twenty years researchers have given a lot of attention to the relationship between religion and crime, finding that religion tends to have a deterring influence on crime-related attitudes and behaviors. While a variety of studies have been published in this area, little work has been done to assess the state of research on religion an...
Article
This study explores differences in perpetrators of suicide attacks and non-suicide attacks in the United States. The study uses data on far-right and Al Qaeda and affiliated/inspired terrorists between 1990 and 2013 from the United States Extremist Crime Database. Our analysis estimates logistic regression models to test whether suicide attackers w...
Article
This paper uses Social Network Analysis to study and compare the organizational structures and division of roles of three jihadist networks in the Netherlands. It uses unique longitudinal Dutch police data covering the 2000–2013 period. This study demonstrates how the organizational structures transform from a hierarchical cell-structure with a cle...
Book
The Handbook of the Criminology of Terrorism features a collection of essays that represent the most recent criminological research relating to the origins and evolution of, along with responses to, terrorism, from a criminological perspective. Offers an authoritative overview of the latest criminological research into the causes of and responses t...
Chapter
Although terrorism literature has grown in quantity and quality, less work has been done on financial crime activity involving those holding extreme political or religious ideological belief systems. This chapter reviews findings from an ongoing research effort identifying financial crime schemes committed by supporters of al-Qa'ida and affiliated...
Article
Full-text available
Honor crimes are violent acts that are experienced among different religions and ethnicities. This type of offense can be justified, either before or after the crime, by the offender’s perceived need to protect honor-based values. This study used Sykes and Matza’s neutralization theory to explain the offender’s justification of honor crimes. We use...
Article
Full-text available
While the number of American jihadi terrorist attacks remains relatively rare, terrorist plots thwarted by law enforcement have increased since September 11, 2001. Although these law enforcement blocks of would-be terrorists are considered counterterrorism triumphs by the FBI, human rights and civil liberty watch groups have conversely suggested th...
Article
This work examines the intersections of subcultural theories and radicalization theories from terrorism studies to identify how they may be improved through integration. To date there have been almost no efforts to merge these frameworks, though terrorism shares common characteristics of deviant subcultures. Both are driven by ideologies that are i...
Article
Full-text available
This study article focuses on American far-right (FR) extremists who committed ideologically motivated violent or financial crimes in the United States. We examine three research questions. First, are certain types of FR ideological beliefs associated with different types of criminal behavior? Second, can the various indicators of FR ideology be us...
Article
In this article, we introduce readers to a special issue of Studies in Conflict & Terrorism on measurement issues in the study of terrorism. In recent years scholarly interest in terrorism has increased and systematic methods are now more commonly used. Terrorism works that analyze data highlight substantive findings as opposed to measurement issue...
Conference Paper
Terrorism research has begun to focus on the issue of radicalization, or the acceptance of ideological belief systems that lead toward violence. There has been particular attention paid to the role of the Internet in the exposure to and promotion of radical ideas. There is, however, minimal work that attempts to model the ways that messages are spr...
Article
Full-text available
There is a lack of research on honor crimes within the United States. We used an open source search methodology to identify the victim-offender relationship and motivations for this crime within the United States. Using data collected based on the protocol for the United States Extremist Crime Database (ECDB), we identified a total of 16 honor crim...
Article
This study compares the organizational-level variables of violent and nonviolent far-right extremist groups. This study makes an important contribution by coding for attributes for each specific year that an organization existed. Prior research has only examined organizational characteristics at a single point of time. Our strategy here better spec...
Article
Full-text available
This Article focuses on the Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) approach in criminology, which expands the crime reduction role well beyond the justice system. SCP sees criminal law in a more restrictive sense, as only part of the anticrime effort in governance. We examine the “general” and “specific” responses to crime problems in the SCP approach....
Article
Domestic extremists, such as Al Qaeda and associated movements, far-right extremists, and far-left extremists, currently pose a threat to national security. These threats are dynamic and national security policies need to be sensitive to the overall criminal offending patterns of specific movements, characteristics of the specific movement and its...
Article
Full-text available
Several recent high-profile homicides of police officers have brought increased attention to issues of far-right extremist violence in the United States. We still, however, know very little about why (and how) certain encounters between far-right extremists and police result in violence. To fill this research gap, we conduct a mixed-method analysis...
Article
Existing literature demonstrates disagreement over the relationship between hate crime and terrorism with some calling them “close cousins,” whereas others declare them “distant relatives.” We extend previous research by capturing a middle ground between hate crime and terrorism: extremist hate crime. We conduct negative binomial regressions to exa...
Article
Full-text available
The domestic far-right movement has existed in the United States for many years. During that time, groups have appeared, disappeared, and reappeared. Unfortunately, very little is known about what causes these groups to disband. Prior research has focused on long-lived groups, but the majority of extremist or terrorist groups fail to survive for an...
Article
Full-text available
This exploratory study examines the nexus between crime and terrorism through a social network analysis of an American-based Hezbollah network involved in trade diversion of cigarettes for self-financing purposes. The study has three goals: (1) to explore the structural characteristics of an Islamic extremist network involved in trade diversion; (2...
Article
Full-text available
This article empirically tests Power Devaluation Theory on the American Tea Party movement, a contemporary right-wing nationalistic movement motivated by identity politics. The relationship between Tea Party mobilization and power devaluation in economic, political, and status-based markets is examined through a logistic regression analysis that ut...
Article
Full-text available
This article compares Beccaria’s and Situational Crime Prevention’s (SCP) claims across six dimensions. Both perspectives question harsh penalties, embrace crime reduction as a goal, and view some individuals as possessing agency and rationality. The latter two points distinguish them from most other criminological theories that are not focused on...
Article
Full-text available
The domestic far-right movement has existed in the United States for many years. During that time, groups have appeared, disappeared, and reappeared. Unfortunately, very little is known about what causes these groups to disband. An interdisciplinary approach identified external and internal correlates of organizational death to empirically test whi...
Article
Full-text available
The role of the internet in radicalizing individuals to extremist action is much discussed but remains conceptually and empirically unclear. Here we consider right-wing and jihadist use of the Internet – who posts what and where. We focus on extremist content related to radicalization to violent action, and argue that victim videos and jihad videos...