Center for Problem-Oriented Policing

Crime Prevention Studies, Volume 25

Reducing Terrorism through Situational Crime Prevention, Volume 25

Edited by Joshua D. Freilich & Graeme R. Newman

Buy this volume from Lynne Rienner Publishers


Title and copyright pages
Spatio-Temporal Modeling of Insurgency in Iraq
by Shane D. Johnson and Alex Braithwaite

In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, counter-insurgency operations have taken primacy in many states' policy agendas. In this chapter we provide an overview of the Iraq conflict and review existing theory regarding insurgent targeting strategies. In particular, we focus on how attacks might be organized in space and time given the resources available to insurgents, and the spatial and temporal constraints that shape their behavior. Using data for a six month interval of time, we then examine space-time patterns of two types of attack; IED and non-IED. The results indicate that both types of attack cluster in space and time more than would be expected if their timing and location were independent. Simply put, following an attack at one location others are more likely nearby within a short interval of time, but the risk of attack within the vicinity diminishes with time. Importantly, the precise patterns vary by attack type suggesting that they are generated by different types of insurgent strategy and that different counter-insurgent tactics will be appropriate for different types of attack.

Reducing Terrorist Opportunities: A Framework for Foreign Policy
by Graeme R. Newman

Major counter-terrorism foreign policy of the U.S. and other Western nations has been driven by traditional strategies based on concepts of nation states using economic and military power to exploit and maintain access to natural resources and labor markets. While these policies have contributed to the vibrant global markets of the 21st century and unprecedented economic development in many developing countries, they have also created ample opportunities for terrorists, helping them reach their targets and kill with greater efficiency and lethality. Using an approach adopted from situational crime prevention, it is argued that counter-terrorism foreign policy must focus on reducing opportunities for terrorists in two different ways: (1) by identifying the characteristics of globalization that provide opportunities for terrorists to carry out their attacks successfully, and (2) by understanding the specificity of terrorist attacks at the local level so that opportunity-reducing techniques can be tailored to address each specific kind of terrorist attack. This approach will serve to directly link foreign policy that is traditionally confined to treaties and geopolitical debates, to actual operations on the ground.

Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-Level 61 Counterinsurgency
by David Kilkullen

There are no universal answers, and insurgents are among the most adaptive opponents you will ever face. Countering them will demand every ounce of your intellect. But be comforted: you are not the first to feel this way. There are tactical fundamentals you can apply, to link the theory with the techniques and procedures you already know.

by Rachel Boba

Resources of local communities are often not spent on preparing for a specific terrorist attack, but more generally on actions that seek to reduce the success of attempted attacks as well as damage if an attack is successful. To assist with this process, this chapter presents a fairly specific, but general, approach for individual target assessment as well as several analysis strategies for assessment of groups of targets in a particular jurisdiction. The unique contribution of this chapter is the breakdown of Clarke and Newman's (2006) "EVIL DONE" factors into a set of items that that can be easily scored consistently across targets and among individual analysts. For local authorities, the chapter's goal is to analyze target risk long before a threat is posed or a terrorist attempt is made as well as to analyze all the potential targets within a community to prioritize prevention strategies and allocation of resources. For researchers, the chapter's goal is to present a methodology that can be used to evaluate targets of different types and across jurisdictions to provide practitioners context and comparison for their own analyses as well as test the validity and reliability of the methodology itself.

Bioterrorism: A Situational Crime Prevention Approach
by William Clark

By the end of 2009, will have spent over $60 billion preparing to defend Americans against a bioterrorist attack and its consequences, in spite of the fact that there has never been a single verified instance of the loss of human life to bioterrorism. Many, both within and outside of government, have proposed that we must reassess our approach to defending against a bioterrorism threat. In this chapter, I propose that the principles of situational crime prevention could be extended to include a detailed analysis of not just the potential targets of bioterrorism, but also of the bioterrorists themselves: their capabilities and, especially, their weapons. This may lead to a much more realistic estimate of the magnitude of the bioterrorist threat, and a more effective distribution of resources in the overall war on terrorism.

Application of Situational Crime Prevention to Terrorist Hostage Taking and Kidnapping: A Case Study of 23 Korean Hostages in Afghanistan
by Minwoo Yun

This study examines the applicability of Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) to terrorist hostage taking and kidnapping. In doing so, the current study integrates the SCP model with script theory to explain the temporal mental map of the terrorist hostage takers and provide a theoretical guide to developing SCP measures. The study specifically focuses on the 23 Korean hostages in Afghanistan to examine the feasibility of the application of the SCP model. Qualitative content analysis on newspapers and media reports was used to conduct the case study. Situational factors which significantly influenced the Taliban hostage takers' decision making in each temporal stage of the event were identified and various SCP measures were suggested. The limitations are also discussed.

Preventing Deadly Encounters between Law Enforcement and American Far-Rightists
by Joshua D. Freilich and Steven M. Chermak

This study extends Clarke and Newman's (2006; Newman and Clarke. 2008) work that applied SCP to terrorism. Their analysis focused on international terrorists, particularly suicide attacks, and only briefly discussed domestic American extremists. The American far-right, however, also poses a significant threat to public safety. This paper applies SCP techniques to two case studies of fatal far-right attacks against law enforcement personnel in the United States. The incidents were purposefully selected from Freilich and Chermak's U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB), a relational database of all crimes committed by far-right extremists in the United States from 1990 to the present reported in an open source. Cornish's "script" analysis is applied to the two cases to devise intervention techniques to prevent such acts. One case illustrates the efficacy of traditional “hard” SCP techniques. Importantly, because some of these attacks were unplanned and occurred during routine incidents that escalated, recent innovations in SCP by Wortley and others are applied to a second case to demonstrate the usefulness of "soft" techniques.

Situational Crime Prevention and Non-Violent Terrorism: A "Soft" Approach against Ideologically Motivated Tax Refusal
by Roberta Belli and Joshua D. Freilich

This paper explores the applicability of Situational Crime Prevention (SCP) to "ideologically motivated tax refusal," a non-violent crime of omission committed by far-right extremists in the U.S. as a form of political protest. Most terrorism research focuses on stopping violent behaviors by terrorists, neglecting the relationship existing between terrorism and other serious – but nonviolent – ideological crimes. All previous applications of SCP have been to criminal offenses that require a proactive behavior on the side of the offender. Our paper examined these issues as well as factors that contribute to the occurrence of tax refusal among far-rightists, such as the offenders' characteristics, decision-making process and resources, to highlight the opportunity structure and possible key points for intervention. In conclusion, we suggested the use of eight selected situational techniques that propose a "soft" approach – as defined by Wortley and others in contrast with traditional "hard" SCP (e.g., target-hardening, etc.) – for preventing this crime problem.

Exploring Parallels between Situational Crime Prevention and Non-Criminological Theories for Reducing Terrorist Risk
by Joseph Clare and Frank Morgan

The development of the situational prevention framework to combat terrorism has broadened the traditional focus of these strategies on the immediate situation. This chapter discusses the diverse temporal and spatial focus of the set of situational techniques Clarke and Newman (2006) have proposed as a response to terrorism. As a consequence of this increased diversity, the situational prevention strategies for terrorism bifurcate to parallel the epidemiological high-risk and population approaches to disease prevention. Further, these population techniques incorporated into the expanded situational prevention framework are entirely consistent with those of theories discussed by psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and lawyers.

How to Lose the War on Terror: Lessons of a 30 Year War in Northern Ireland
by Nick Ross

Untested intuition makes for bad science, but has been our first defense against terrorism. Situational measures can mitigate damage, but typically we fail to appreciate developing dangers, overreact to outrages, and make things worse. Given the lack of scientific models in the field, this paper is mostly anecdote and autobiography; it recruits lessons from recent history to lament that in the absence of scientific rigor we fail to define objectives and repeat mistakes in tackling terror. It challenges the temptation to see terrorism as unfair, let alone Islamic. It suggests that terrorism is here to stay, that brutal countermeasures are self-defeating unless they can quickly and utterly crush the perpetrators, so parlaying is strategic necessity and must be contemplated (though not indulged in) from the start.