James densley

Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Metro State University 

Co-Founder of The Violence Project

Photo: Jeff Achen

Photo: Autumn Wilkie

Dr. James Densley is Professor and Department Chair of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Metro State University, which is part of the Minnesota State system, and Metro State's first "University Scholar." He is also co-founder (with Jillian Peterson) of The Violence Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center best known for its mass shooter database, which was originally funded by the National Institute of Justice.

Densley is the author or editor of 11 books, including the 2022 Minnesota Book Award winner, The Violence Project: How to Stop a Mass Shooting Epidemic. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in top scientific journals, as well as more than 100 book chapters, essays, and other works in various outlets such as The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, TIME, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. His research on street gangs, criminal networks, violence, and policing has garnered global media attention, and he has successfully secured over US$3 million in external funding for basic and applied scholarship.

Densley earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of Oxford. Before joining the academy, he worked as a special education teacher in the New York City public schools. In 2017, he was recognized for his outstanding community volunteerism with the Points of Light Award from the UK Prime Minister. Densley has been an invited or keynote/plenary speaker on four continents and has provided expert testimony to the UK Home Office, the US Commission on Civil Rights, the 9/11 Review Commission, state legislatures, and city councils.

Watch my 2019 TEDx talk, "Violence in the Age of Social Media", HERE.

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