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Criminal Justice Reference: 214217

Criminal Justice Reference: 214217

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Published by: DOJ on Jan 22, 2008
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The author(s) shown below used Federal funds provided by the U.S.Department of Justice and prepared the following final report:Document Title:
Pre-Incident Indicators of Terrorist Incidents:The Identification of Behavioral, Geographic,and Temporal Patterns of Preparatory ConductAuthor(s):
Brent L. Smith ; Kelly R. Damphousse ;Paxton RobertsDocument No.:
214217Date Received:
May 2006Award Number:
200
3
-DT-CX-0003This report has not been published by the U.S. Department of Justice.To provide better customer service, NCJRS has made this Federally-funded grant final report available electronically in addition totraditional paper copies.Opinions or points of view expressed are thoseof the author(s) and do not necessarily reflectthe official position or policies of the U.S.Department of Justice.
 
University of Arkansas
NIJ
Grant 2003-DT-CX-0003
ABSTRACTPre-Incident Indicators of Terrorist Incidents:
The Identification of Behavioral, Geographic, and Temporal Patterns ofPreparatory Conduct
Findings from the American Terrorism Study (NIJ grant #1999-IJCX-0005 andDHS/MIPT grant #lO6- 113-2000-064) reveal that unlike traditional criminality, terroristsare much less spontaneous, engage in substantial planning activities, and commitancillary and preparatory crimes in advance of a terrorist incident. Building on thesefindings, the goals of the current project were to determine whether (1) sufficient opensource data exists to examine the temporal and spatial relationships that exist in terroristgroup planning, and (2) if such data
do
exist, can patterns of routinized preparatoryconduct be identified.To accomplish these goals, subject matter experts were selected to identifyterrorist groupslincidents that operated or occurred within the United States from fourmajor categories: international; and three types of domestic terrorism
--
left-wing, right-wing, and single issue (which was limited to environmental and anti-abortion terrorism).Sixty-seven "cases" were selected for analysis. Of these sixty seven, sixty of the caseswere sufficiently fertile to provide some data for analysis. These included
22
right-wing,
9
left-wing, 10 international, and 17 single issue cases. Information on some 200 terrorist"incidents" (right-wing, 41; left-wing,
5
1; international, 58; and single issue, 50) wasextracted from open source data on these cases to create a relational database composedof 265 variables. Geospatial data was recorded on some
5
15 terrorists' residences,planning locations, preparatory activities, and target locations.
Terrorism Research Center in Fulbright College
 
Due to the exploratory nature of this research, analyses focused upon theidentification of general temporal and spatial patterns of activity. On average, theterrorist groups studied existed for some 1,205 days from the date of the first knownplanning meeting to the date of the actuallplanned terrorist incident.' This figure,however, should not be taken as indicative of the average "lifespan" of terrorist groups.Some of the groups studied, such as the United Freedom Front and Omega
7,
operated forseveral years, atypical for most terrorist groups. The planning process for specific actsbegan, on average, approximately
2-3
months prior to the commission of the terroristincident. Planning and preparatory activities were intermingled during this period.However, on average, a lull in activities occurred during the last three to four weeks priorto the incident. Approximately two and one-half known planning and preparatorybehaviors were recorded per incident and these varied by type of terrorist group.The spatial analysis revealed that terrorists typically live relatively close to theincident target. Nearly one-half of the terrorists resided within 30 miles of the targetlocation. Similarly, approximately one-half of the terrorists engaged in their planningand preparatory activities within this distance of their residences. Finally, a similarpercentage of preparatory behaviors took place within 30 miles of the eventual target ofthe terrorist incident.The implications for local law enforcement are extremely important. Whileterrorists may think globally, they act locally. Both preventative efforts and post-incidentinvestigations should focus upon local events and persons as the primary source ofinformation about terrorist activities.
'
Some incidents were "prevented."
If
a planned date for carrying out the attack was known, it wasrecorded as such.
2

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