Non-Academic Juvenile Crime “Expert” Gets Lots Of Speaking Gigs


Phil Chalmers, an Ohio real-estate agent, says he is the nation’s foremost authority on juvenile homicide on mass murder, although he has not been employed in either a police department or a district attorney's office, nor has he studied criminal justice, Newsweek reports. The magazine says Chalmers “might be the most popular motivational and anti-violence speaker on the circuit.” He between 50 and 150 speeches to schools and law enforcement agencies each year for up to $3,500 per gig. This is based partly on the 2009 publication of Inside the Mind of a Teen Killer, in which he claims to identify the 10 reasons kids kill, as well as warning signs. Several experts emphatically dispute his assertions.

Chalmers says his work has helped law enforcement avert many crimes. Without explaining, he says, “We've stopped over 200 school massacres since Columbine. Probably more.” Chalmers's in-your-face approach has drawn ire from parents who think it might be too violent for kids. Laurence Steinberg, a juvenile crime expert at Temple University, says that making data-based conclusions and predictions on behavior requires a large sample, and there aren't enough teen killers for a sufficient sample group. “There may be lots of factors that kids who have committed homicide share in common,” he says, but “there are probably millions of people who have those factors who haven't committed homicide.”

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