James Alan Fox

Professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy, Northeastern University

Areas of Expertise

  • Serial and mass murder
  • Violent crime
  • School and campus violence
  • Capital punishment
  • Juvenile justice
  • Gun violence

Key Findings

  • The age range of campus shooters in mult-victim homicides skewed higher than the age of traditional university students. MORE
  • More than half of perpetrators of multi-victim homicides on college campuses were more than 25 years-old. MORE
  • Age-wise, males and females are most likely to commit homicide in their early 20s, but this peak is more prominent for males. MORE
  • Thirty-five percent of female killers are younger than 25 while almost half of male killers are younger than 25. MORE
  • Concern surrounding gun violence and mass shootings at school has grown since the 1990s. MORE


James Alan Fox, the Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University, is an expert in serial and mass killing, violent crime, school and campus violence, and capital punishment.

Fox manages the Associated Press/USA TODAY/Northeastern University Mass Killing Database and has presented to President Clinton, Attorneys General Reno and Holder, and Princess Anne of Great Britain. He has worked on criminal investigations surrounding serial and mass murder cases and served as a visiting fellow with the Bureau of Justice Statistics focusing on homicide patterns and trends. He was the founding editor of the Journal of Quantitative Criminology and was honored by the Massachusetts Committee against the Death Penalty for excellence in capital punishment scholarship. He is a member of the USA TODAY Board of Contributors and has published more than 300 opinion columns in major newspapers around the country. 

Fox has been published in numerous journals and has written nearly 20 books, including The Will to Kill: Making Sense of Senseless Murder; Extreme Killing: Understanding Serial and Mass Murder; Violence and Security on Campus: From Pre-School through College; and How to Work with the Media.

Fox received his Ph.D. in Sociology, M.A. in Statistics, M.A. in Criminology and A.B. in Sociology from the University of Pennsylvania.