Steven Chermak

Steven  Chermak
  • Professor
  • School of Criminal Justice
  • PhD 1993, State University of New York at Albany
  • MA 1988, State University of New York at Albany
  • BA 1987, Bowling Green State University


Curriculum Vitae

Office Hours

National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) 


Steven M. Chermak is a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Dr. Chermak is interested in studying terrorism, school shootings, mass shootings, criminal justice organizations, and media coverage of crime and criminal justice. Much of his work in the last ten years has focused on terrorist and extremist activity. He and several colleagues are responsible for building the Extremist Crime Database (ECDB), one of the leading databases on domestic terrorism activities in the US. The ECDB has allowed him to publish articles understanding patterns of violence of far right, far left, and al-Qaeda inspired extremists, documenting how lone wolf attacks are different than group-inspired terrorist attacks, and examining the characteristics of foiled terrorist plots. More recently, he and colleagues have received funding to build another database on fatal and non-fatal school shootings. This database is in the final stages of completion, and it will provide an opportunity to better understand the characteristics of perpetrators that commit school violence and discuss differences in schools victimized by fatal and non-fatal attacks.

Dr. Chermak’s research has been funded by the Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Justice, and the Michigan State Police. He has published two books, seven edited books, and numerous research reports. His research has appeared in a number of journals including Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Criminology and Public Policy, Justice Quarterly, Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, Journal of Criminal Justice, Criminal Justice Policy Review, and the Journal of Crime, Conflict, and the Media.

Current Research

  • Developing a Database on Fatal and Non-Fatal School Shootings in the United States
  • Building a Database on Cyberterrorism Incidents
  • Examining Risk and Protective Factors of Violent and Non-Violent Extremists

Areas of Expertise

  • Domestic Terrorism
  • Targeted Violence (e.g., School Shootings, Mass Shootings)
  • Hate Crimes
  • Criminal Justice Organizations
  • Media and Criminal Justice

Selected Publications

Examining Ideologically Motivated Cyberattacks Performed by Far-Left Groups

Year: 2019 Authors: Holt, T., Stonhouse, M., Freilich, J., & Chermak, S. Journal: Terrorism and Political Violence

American Jihadi Terrorism: A Comparison of Homicides and Unsuccessful Plots

Year: 2019 Authors: Gruenewald, J., Klein, B., Freilich, J., & Chermak, S. Journal: Terrorism and Political Violence

Comparing Extremist Perpetrators of Suicide and Non-Suicide Attacks in the United States

Year: 2019 Authors: Freilich, J., Parkin, W., Gruenewald, J., & Chermak, S. Journal: Terrorism and Political Violence

A Situated Comparison of Suicide and Non-Suicide Terrorist Plots and Homicides in the United States, 1990-2014

Year: 2019 Authors: Gruenewald, J., Klein, B., Parkin, W., Freilich, J., & Chermak, S. Journal: Crime & Delinquency

Post-9/11 Coverage of Terrorism in the New York Times

Year: 2018 Authors: Mitnik, Z., Freilich, J., & Chermak, S. Journal: Justice Quarterly