Steven M. Chermak's research while affiliated with Michigan State University and other places

Publications (127)

Article
Over the last twenty years, researchers have noted the range of violent and financial crimes performed by racial and ethnically-motivated actors. There is also substantial evidence demonstrating the ways that these actors utilize the Internet and various online communications platforms as a resource to recruit others and coordinate criminal activit...
Article
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Although many law enforcement and intelligence agencies are concerned about online communities known to facilitate violent right-wing extremism, little is empirically known about the presence of extremist ideologies, expressed grievances, or violent mobilization efforts that make up these spaces. In this study, we conducted a content analysis of 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
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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
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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
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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
Women are underrepresented in the mass media and are most frequently portrayed in stereotypical and limited ways. Recent efforts to expand our understanding of the media’s representation of gender have examined the characterization of women in crimes stories as both victim and offenders. One avenue of this research focuses on the portrayal of women...
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
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
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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
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
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
Faced with continuing fiscal constraints, a growing number of communities have sought to provide police services in nontraditional ways. While a considerable amount of previous research explores community opinion about the police, no previous work, to our knowledge, focuses on what residents think of these nontraditional models. We surveyed residen...
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
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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
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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...
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
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...
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
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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
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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
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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...
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
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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
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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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...
Article
Despite several overlaps between crime and terrorism, criminological examinations of terrorism to date have been limited. To fill this gap in the research, we examine several individual and contextual socio-demographic characteristics of a diverse sample of extremists operating in the United States who have committed violent crimes. In addition, we...
Article
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This essay sets forth a research agenda to begin filling some key gaps in terrorism studies. Since the September 2001 Al Qaeda attacks against the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon that claimed over 3000 lives, interest in terrorism research has increased. After these attacks, the United States and other governments prioritized the scienti...
Article
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Objectives This exploratory study examines if causal mechanisms highlighted by criminology theories work in the same way to explain both ideologically motivated violence (i.e., terrorism) and regular (non-political) homicides. We study if macro-level hypotheses drawn from deprivation, backlash, and social disorganization frameworks are associated...
Article
U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) Study data of homicides by far-right extremists and arsons and bombings by environmental and animal rights extremists suggest that compared with men, relationships are catalysts for women’s involvement in domestic terrorism; recruitment and opportunity differ by ideology and are not always effective in victimizi...
Article
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This study examines whether the presence of hate groups increases the likelihood of serious ideologically motivated violence committed by far-rightists. While hate crime research has generally focused on a single state or made comparisons across several states, we seek to examine this relationship within the context of U.S. counties. A smaller unit...
Technical Report
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This publication seeks to offer lessons and guidance on engaging news media during police agency consolidation. Managing media relationships is a critical and vital challenge to receiving community support. Although how the public receives information and news has changed dramatically in recent decades, news media continue to be a primary outlet fo...
Article
In this document, we review in more depth municipalities contracting with other governmental agencies, typically a sheriff’s office, as an option for the provision of police services. Such contracting dates back at least to the 1950s when the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department offered services to municipalities seeking to reduce their costs. O...
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This article applies Sprinzak’s theory of split delegitimization to the American far-right. We examine a sample of 30 violent and 30 nonviolent far-right groups for each year of their existence, drawn from the Extremist Crime Database, and explore the violent and legal behavioral patterns over their lifecycle. Sprinzak hypothesized that far-right g...
Article
Although there is a large body of research on media coverage of crime and criminal justice issues, there is significantly less information about policing issues generally, and there has not been a study that specifically examines how the consolidation of law enforcement agencies has been presented in the news. This study fills this gap. We explore...
Article
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This note describes a new and unique, open source, relational database called the United States Extremist Crime Database (ECDB). We first explain how the ECDB was created and outline its distinguishing features in terms of inclusion criteria and assessment of ideological commitment. Second, the article discusses issues related to the evaluation of...
Chapter
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INTRODUCTION On February 25, 1994, Baruch Goldstein entered the mosque at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron in the West Bank and opened fire on a group of Muslims as they began their morning prayers. More than thirty people, including Goldstein, died that day. Years earlier, when living in Brooklyn, New York, Goldstein was a founding member of t...
Article
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This study examines homicide victimization during acts of far-right ideologically motivated violence. Focusing on victims of extremist violence in the United States, we compare ideological homicide victims to prior homicide research to determine whether ideological victims are similar to “routine” homicide victims. In addition, ideological victims...