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James Alan Fox, Lipman Family Professor of Criminology, Law, and Public Policy at Northeastern University, teamed up with USA TODAY and the Associated Press to launch the Mass Killings database – a public facing website that uses interactive graphics and visuals to break down data on incidences of mass killing in the United States. 

Examining each instance through variables like offender and victim demographics, weapon type, and location, the database provides insight into what mass killing looks like in the United States. Understanding the data, the how and why, is especially important at a time when media coverage of mass shooting events can inflate the risk to the public. The Mass Killing database shows that mass shootings – although they garner the most media attention – are only a small part of a larger problem in America. 

“In the face of hyperbolic media coverage and public fear, we tend to embrace easy solutions and quick fixes that don’t necessarily work and sometimes make matters worse,” says Fox, “as opposed to some really important and fundamental changes that in the long run could make our nation safer.”

Dr. James Alan Fox

The website and downloadable data sets serve as a valuable resource for journalists, researchers, and anyone looking for a deeper understanding of violence in the United States. The Associated Press hosts the database and downloadable data files, and USA TODAY developed and will maintain the public website. Northeastern University, led by Fox, will manage data collection and updates.

Most recently, the Mass Killing database was awarded a 2022 EPPY Award, for best community service project and reporting.