Gary LaFree

Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Maryland

Areas of Expertise

  • Causes of terrorism
  • Consequences of terrorism
  • Predictors of violence
  • Official statistics

Key Findings

  • Operation Motorman (a military surge of over 30,000 troops) showed evidence of a deterrent effect. MORE
  • Programs designed to prevent gang membership may not translate to domestic extremists. MORE


Gary LaFree, Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland and the Director of the START Center, is an expert in terrorism, predictors of violence and crime statistics.

LaFree served as the president and fellow of the American Society of Criminology. He also served on the executive board of the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the executive committee of the Justice Research Statistics Association. He was the chair of the American Sociological Association’s Section on Crime, Law and Deviance, the Criminology Department at the University of New Mexico and the New Mexico State Crime and Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council. He received awards from the Justice Research Statistics Association and currently sits on the editorial boards of seven scholarly journals.

LaFree has published more than 75 chapters and articles in scholarly journals and authored the books Rape and Criminal Justice: The Social Construction of Sexual Assault, Losing Legitimacy: Street Crime and the Decline of Institutions in America and Putting Terrorism in Context: Insights from the Global Terrorism Database.

He received his Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. in sociology from Indiana University.

Follow Gary on Twitter: @glafree