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Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice


Brent Klein

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Criminology and Criminal Justice
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-6503
Office: Currell College, room 210
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Image of Brent Klein


  • Ph.D. 2020, Michigan State University, Criminal Justice
  • M.S. 2015, University of Arkansas, Sociology
  • B.S., 2013, University of Arkansas, Sociology & Criminal Justice


Brent R. Klein is an assistant professor in the department of criminology and criminal justice at the University of South Carolina. Professor Klein also manages two federally funded open-source databases, including The American School Shooting Study (TASSS) and the U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB). In the past, Dr. Klein has served as a research consultant for the Michigan State Police (MSP) task force on school safety, and he was the inaugural student board member for the ASC’s Division on Terrorism & Bias Crimes (DTBC). Professor Klein remains a Fellow of both the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) Doctoral Summit and the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF).

Dr. Klein’s professional, research, and teaching interests center on generating more refined explanations of aggression and violence and producing empirical evidence to guide public policy. His interdisciplinary research draws from developmental and life-course criminology, situational theories, and decision-making processes to better inform understandings of antisocial behavior. In particular, he views the systematic study of pressing social problems – such as school violence, youth crime, mass violence, bias crime, gun violence, and terrorism (political crimes) – as essential contexts for building a more rigorous evidence-base on the development, causes, and prevention of violent action. In that vein, Dr. Klein’s recent work has appeared in Justice Quarterly (JQ), Criminology & Public Policy (CPP), the Journal of Interpersonal Violence (JIPV), and Crime & Delinquency (C&D), among other refereed journals.

Currently, Professor Klein is completing one NIJ-funded study about the root causes of school shootings. He also has projects focusing on (a) school shooters’ antisocial development, (b) gun possession and carrying by youth, (c) terrorism radicalization processes, (d) the situational antecedents of bias-motivated homicides, and (e) the role of masculinity in mass violence perpetration. Students interested in getting involved with one of these projects are welcomed to email Dr. Klein to discuss opportunities.   


  • Development of antisocial behavior
  • Aggression and violence
  • Situations of crime and violence
  • Life course theory
  • Decision making
  • Crime events
  • Crime prevention
  • Rare event methodologies


Freilich, J. D., Chermak, S. M., & Klein, B. R. (2020). Investigating the applicability of situational crime prevention to the public mass violence context. Criminology & Public Policy, 19(1), 271-293.

Klein, B. R., Gruenewald, J., Chermak, S. M., & Freilich, J. A. (2019). A mixed method examination of law enforcement investigatory strategies used in jihadi and far-right foiled terrorist plots before and after 9/11. Journal of Qualitative Criminal Justice & Criminology, 7(2), 29-58.

Gruenewald, J., Klein, B. R., Drawve, G., Smith, B. L., & Ratcliff, K. (2019). An empirical examination of "suspicious" preoperational activities and successful terrorist outcomes using data from the American Terrorism Study (ATS). Policing: An International Journal, 42(1), 89-107.

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