Dr. James Densley is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University, part of the Minnesota State system. He is also co-founder and co-owner (with Jillian Peterson) of The Violence Project LLC.

Densley has published more than 30 refereed articles and book chapters in leading social science outlets and has received local, national, and international media attention for his work on street gangs, criminal networks, violence, and policingHe is the author of How Gangs Work: An Ethnography of Youth Violence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and coauthor of Minnesota's Criminal Justice System (Carolina Academic Press, 2016). He also has written for CNNMinnPostStarTribune, The Sun, and The Wall Street Journal.

Densley has been an invited or plenary speaker on three continents. He has consulted on / contributed to many large grant-funded initiatives, including the National Initiative for Building Community Trust and Justice, the acclaimed Greentown project in Ireland, and a RAND Corporation study of Ending Gang and Youth Violence (EGYV) areas, commissioned by the UK Home Office. He has given evidence to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the 9/11 Review Commission), the Minnesota Advisory Committee to the US Commission on Civil Rights, and the Home Office Crime and Policing Analysis Unit, feeding the UK Government's Serious Violence Strategy. He was also a co-signatory on a letter to the media urging them to stop publishing the names and photographs of mass killers.

For co-founding the charity, Growing Against Violence, Densley received the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award in 2017, which recognizes "outstanding individual volunteers." He also won the National Gang Crime Research Center's Frederick Milton Thrasher Award in 2013 for "superior accomplishments in gang research." Densley is past president of the FBI Minneapolis Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBIMCAAA), which received a national Presidential Chapter of Excellence Award during his tenure. He currently serves on Minnesota's Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) State Advisory Committee and as Risk Manager for the North Suburban Soccer Association (NSSA).

Densley is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and an Associate of the Extra-Legal Governance Institute at his alma mater, the University of Oxford. He earned a D.Phil. and M.Sc. in Sociology from St. Antony's College, Oxford, in addition to an M.S. in Teaching from Pace University and a First Class B.A. (Hons.) in Sociology with American Studies from the University of Northampton, where he is a noted alumnusDensley is a former special education teacher and NYC Teaching Fellow.

Photograph © Amber Procaccini

School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
9110 Brooklyn Boulevard
Brooklyn Park, Minnesota 55445
T: (+1) 763-657-3761