Dr. Matthew Valasik

Associate Professor


  • Ph.D., Criminology, Law & Society, University of California, Irvine, 2014
  • B.A., Criminology, The Ohio State University 2006
  • B.A., History; B.S. Zoology, The Ohio State University 2004

Research Areas

  • Gangs
  • Alt-Right
  • White Power Movement



Dr. Valasik’s research program is two-fold. The first component investigates the socio-spatial dynamics of gang behavior (i.e., territoriality, group cohesion, and violence). This includes comparing and contrasting the attributes of street gangs with other deviant groups (i.e., ISIS, Skinheads, Alt-Right, White Power Groups). The second component examines effective strategies aimed at reducing neighborhood violence and discouraging gang activity, such as problem-oriented policing strategies (e.g., gang units, civil gang injunctions) or criminal justice policies (e.g., drug enforcement). Dr. Valasik is the co-author of Alt-Right Gangs: A Hazy Shade of White, published by University of California Press in 2020. The book examines the rise of alt-right groups through the lens of street gang research. The book is the first to conceptualize alt-right gangs and situate their existence across a broad range of academic literature and current events. In addition to Dr. Valasik’s research appearing in broad catalog of academic journals his work has received coverage in national media outlets such as The Conversation The Washington Post’s  Monkey Cage, The Guardian, The Crime Report, and Rolling Stone.

Selected Publications


Reid, S. E. & Valasik, M. (2020) Alt-Right Gangs: A Hazy Shade of White. Berkeley: University

of California Press.



Gravel, J., Valasik, M., Mulder, J., Leenders, R., Butts, C., Brantingham, P. J., & Tita, G. E. (2023). “Rivalries, reputation, retaliation, and repetition: Testing plausible mechanisms for the contagion of violence between street gangs using relational event models.” Network Science, 1-27. doi:10.1017/nws.2023.8

Valasik, M., & Reid, S. E. (2023). “Alt-right gangs and far-right extremists: From the margins to the mainstream.”  Sociology Compass. DOI: 10.1111/soc4.13094

Valasik, M., Gravel, J., Tita. G. E., Brantingham, P. J., & Griffiths, B. (2023). “Territory, Residency and Routine Activities: A Typology of Gang Member Mobility Patterns with Implications for Place-based Interventions.” Journal of Criminal Justice.

Valasik, M. & Torres, J. (2022). “Civilizing Space or Criminalizing Place: Using Routine Activities Theory to Better Understand How Legal Hybridity Spatially Regulates ‘Deviant Populations.’Critical Criminology, 30(2), 443-463

Valasik, M. & Reid, S. E. (2021) “Classifying Far-right Groups as Gangs.” Contexts, 20(4): 74-75.

Valasik, M., & Reid, S. E. (2021). “The Alt-Right Movement and US National Security.” The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters, 51(3): 5-17.

Barton, M. S., Valasik., M, Brault, E., & Tita, G. E. (2020). “‘Gentefication’ in the Barrio: Examining the Relationship between Gentrification and Homicide in East Los Angeles.” Crime & Delinquency. 66(13-14): 1888-1913.

Brantingham, P. J., Valasik, M., & Tita, G. E. (2019). “Competitive Dominance, Gang Size Diversity and the Directionality of Gang Violence.” Crime Science. 8(1): 1-20.

Valasik, M. & Reid, S. E. (2019). “The Schrödinger’s Cat of Gang Groups: Can Street Gangs Inform our Comprehension of Skinheads and Alt-Right Groups?Deviant Behavior. 40(10): 1245-1259.

Valasik, M., Brault, E. E., & Martinez, S. M. (2019) “Forecasting Homicide in the Red Stick: Risk Terrain Modeling and the Spatial Influence of Urban Blight on Lethal Violence in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.” Social Science Research. 80: 186-201.

Valasik, M. (2018). “Gang Violence Predictability: Using Risk Terrain Modeling to study Gang Homicides and Gang Assaults in East Los Angeles.” Journal of Criminal Justice. 58: 10-21.

Reid, S. E. & Valasik, M. (2018). “CTRL+ALT-RIGHT: Reinterpreting our Knowledge of White Supremacy Groups through the Lens of Street Gangs.” Journal of Youth Studies. 21(10): 1305-1325.

Brantingham, P. J., Valasik, M., & Mohler, G. O. (2018) “Does Predictive Policing Lead to Biased Arrests? A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Statistics and Public Policy. 5(1): 11-17.

Valasik, M., Barton, M. S., Reid, S. E., & Tita, G. E. (2017). “Barriocide: Investigating the Temporal and Spatial Influence of Neighborhood Structural Characteristics on Gang and Non-Gang Homicides in East Los AngelesHomicide Studies. 21(4): 287-311.

Valasik, M. & Philips, M. D. (2017). “Understanding Modern Terror and Insurgency Through the Lens of Street Gangs: A Case Study of The Islamic State.” Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice. 3(3): 192-207.

Valasik, M., Reid, S. E. & Phillips, M. D. (2016). “CRASH and Burn: Abatement of a Specialized Gang Unit.” Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice. 2(2): 95-106.