Advertisement

A deadlier post-9/11 terrorism landscape for the USA abroad: a quasi-experimental study of backlash effects of terrorism prevention

  • Henda Y. HsuEmail author
  • Bob Edward Vásquez
  • David McDowall
Article

Abstract

Objectives

The United States initiated sweeping counterterrorism efforts after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. This study tests a backlash hypothesis as it relates to the nature of attacks against the US abroad.

Methods

Relying on data from the Global Terrorism Database, this study uses a quasi-experimental design to investigate whether attacks against the US abroad became more or less lethal after 9/11.

Results

There is a significant increase in the proportion of attacks with fatalities and a significant decrease in the proportions of non-lethal attacks against US targets and interests overseas after 9/11. The results suggest a redistribution in the lethality of attacks against the US abroad.

Conclusions

This study finds evidence of a backlash of deadlier terrorism violence against the US abroad after September 11. Examining for unintended consequences is an important facet of terrorism prevention research and policy.

Keywords

9/11 Backlash Counterterrorism Displacement Homeland security Terrorism Time series 

Notes

References

  1. Argomaniz, J., & Vidal-Diez, A. (2015). Examining deterrence and backlash effects in counter-terrorism: the case of ETA. Terrorism and Political Violence, 27, 160–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnes, G. C. (1995). Defining and optimizing displacement. Crime Prevention Studies, 4, 95–113.Google Scholar
  3. Barr, R., & Pease, K. (1990). Crime placement, displacement and deflection. In M. H. Tonry & N. Morris (Eds.), Crime and justice: a review of research (vol. 12). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bowers, K. J., Johnson, S. D., Guerette, R. T., Summers, L., & Poynton, S. (2011). Spatial displacement and diffusion of benefits among geographically focused policing initiatives: a meta-analytical review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 7, 347–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Box, G. E. P., & Jenkins, G. M. (1970). Time series analysis: forecasting and control. San Francisco: Holden-Day.Google Scholar
  6. Box, G. E. P., & Tiao, G. C. (1975). Intervention analysis with applications to economic and environmental problems. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 70, 70–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brandt, P. T., & Sandler, T. (2010). What do transnational terrorists target? Has it changed? Are we safer? Journal of Conflict Resolution, 54, 214–236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brantingham, P. (1986). Trends in Canadian crime prevention. In K. Heal & G. Laycock (Eds.), Situational crime prevention: from theory into practice. London: HMSO.Google Scholar
  9. Brantingham, P. J., & Brantingham, P. L. (Eds.). (1991). Environmental criminology (2nd ed.). Long Grove, Illinois: Waveland Press.Google Scholar
  10. Chermak, S. M., Freilich, J. D., Parkin, W. S., & Lynch, J. P. (2012). American terrorism and extremist crime data sources and selectivity bias: an investigation focusing on homicide events committed by far-right extremists. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 28, 191–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Clarke, R. V., & Newman, G. R. (2006). Outsmarting the terrorists. Westport, CT: Praeger Security International.Google Scholar
  12. Clarke, R. V., & Weisburd, D. (1994). Diffusion of crime control benefits: observations on the reverse of displacement. Crime Prevention Studies, 2, 165–183.Google Scholar
  13. Cohen, L. E., & Felson, M. (1979). Social change and crime rate trends: a routine activity approach. American Sociological Review, 44, 588–605.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cornish, D. B., & Clarke, R. V. (1987). Understanding crime displacement: an application of rational choice theory. Criminology, 25, 933–948.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cothren, J., Smith, B. L., Roberts, P., & Damphousse, K. R. (2008). Geospatial and temporal patterns of preparatory conduct among American terrorists. International Journal of Comparative Applied Criminal Justice, 32, 23–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Dugan, L. (2011). The series hazard model: an alternative to time series for event data. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 27, 379–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dugan, L., & Chenoweth, E. (2012). Moving beyond deterrence: the effectiveness of raising the expected utility of abstaining from terrorism in Israel. American Sociological Review, 77, 597–624.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Enders, W. (2014). Applied econometric time series (4th ed.). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Enders, W., & Sandler, T. (1993). The effectiveness of antiterrorism policies: a vector autoregression-intervention analysis. American Political Science Review, 87, 829–844.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Enders, W., & Sandler, T. (2000). Is transnational terrorism becoming more threatening? A time-series investigation. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 44, 307–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Enders, W., & Sandler, T. (2004). What do we know about the substitution effect in transnational terrorism? In A. Silke (Ed.), Research on terrorism: trends, achievements and failures. New York: Frank Cass.Google Scholar
  22. Enders, W., & Sandler, T. (2006). Distribution of transnational terrorism among countries by income class and geography after 9/11. International Studies Quarterly, 50, 367–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Enders, W., & Sandler, T. (2012). The political economy of terrorism (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Ganor, B. (2005). The counter-terrorism puzzle: a guide for decision makers. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  25. Ganor, B. (2008). Terrorist organization typologies and the probability of a boomerang effect. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, 31, 269–283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Gruenewald, J., Klein, B. R., Drawve, G., Smith, B. L., & Ratcliff, K. (2019). Suspicious preoperational activities and law enforcement interdiction of terrorist plots. Policing: An International Journal, 42, 89–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Guerette, R. T. (2008). Analyzing crime displacement and diffusion: problem-oriented guides for police problem-solving tools series guide No. 10. Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services.Google Scholar
  28. Guerette, R. T., & Bowers, K. J. (2009). Assessing the extent of crime displacement and diffusion of benefits: a review of situational crime prevention evaluations. Criminology, 47, 1331–1368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Gurr, T. (1970). Why men rebel. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Hsu, H. Y., & Apel, R. (2015). A situational model of displacement and diffusion following the introduction of airport metal detectors. Terrorism and Political Violence, 27, 29–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hsu, H. Y., & Newman, G. (2016). The situational approach to terrorism. In G. LaFree & J. Freilich (Eds.), The handbook of the criminology of terrorism. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Google Scholar
  32. Hsu, H. Y., Vásquez, B. E., & McDowall, D. (2018). A time-series analysis of terrorism: Intervention, displacement, and diffusion of benefits. Justice Quarterly, 35, 557–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Johnson, S. D., Guerette, R. T., & Bowers, K. (2014). Crime displacement: what we know, what we don’t know, and what it means for crime reduction. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 10, 549–571.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kleck, G. (2016). Objective risks and individual perceptions of those risks. Criminology & Public Policy, 15, 767–775.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Knutsson, J. (1997). Restoring public order in a city park. Crime Prevention Studies, 7, 133–151.Google Scholar
  36. Kutner, M. H., Nachtsheim, C. J., Neter, J., & Li, W. (2005). Applied linear statistical models (5th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin.Google Scholar
  37. LaFree, G., Dugan, L., & Korte, R. (2009). The impact of British counterterrorist strategies on political violence in Northern Ireland: comparing deterrence and backlash models. Criminology, 47, 17–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. LaFree, G., Dugan, L., & Miller, E. (2015). Putting terrorism in context: lessons from the Global Terrorism Database. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. McCauley, C., & Moskalenko, S. (2008). Mechanisms of political radicalization: pathways toward terrorism. Terrorism and Political Violence, 20, 415–433.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. McCleary, R., McDowall, D., & Bartos, B. J. (2017). Design and analysis of time series experiments. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nevin, J. A. (2003). Retaliating against terrorists. Behavior and Social Issues, 12, 109–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Newman, G. R., & Hsu, H. Y. (2012). Rational choice and terrorist target selection. In U. Kumar & M. Mandal (Eds.), Countering terrorism: psycho-social strategies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  43. Perry, S., Apel, R., Newman, G. R., & Clarke, R. V. (2017). The situational prevention of terrorism: an evaluation of the Israeli West Bank Barrier. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 33, 727–751.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Reppetto, T. A. (1976). Crime prevention and the displacement phenomenon. Crime & Delinquency, 22, 166–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Rosendorff, P., & Sandler, T. (2004). Too much of a good thing? The proactive response dilemma. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 48, 657–671.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Safer-Lichtenstein, A. (2017). An explicit consideration of unintended consequences from counterterrorism policy: the case of radical eco-groups. Studies in Conflict & Terrorism.  https://doi.org/10.1080/1057610X.2017.1373430.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Schuurman, B., Bakker, E., Gill, P., & Bouhana, N. (2017). Lone actor terrorist attack planning and preparation: a data-driven analysis. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 63, 1191–1200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Smith, B. L., Damphousse, K. R., & Roberts, P. (2006). Pre-incident indicators of terrorist incidents: the identification of behavioral, geographic, and temporal patterns of preparatory conduct. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, Department of Justice.Google Scholar
  49. Telep, C. W., Weisburd, D., Gill, C. E., Vitter, Z., & Teichman, D. (2014). Displacement of crime and diffusion of crime control benefits in large-scale geographic areas: a systematic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 10, 515–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Weisburd, D., Wyckoff, L. A., Ready, J., Eck, J. E., Hinkle, J. C., & Gajewski, F. (2006). Does crime just move around the corner? A controlled study of spatial displacement and diffusion of crime control benefits. Criminology, 44, 549–592.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yang, S. M., & Jen, I. C. (2018). An evaluation of displacement and diffusion effects on eco-terrorist activities after police interventions. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 34, 1103–1123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henda Y. Hsu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bob Edward Vásquez
    • 2
  • David McDowall
    • 3
  1. 1.College of Human Sciences and HumanitiesUniversity of Houston-Clear LakeHoustonUSA
  2. 2.School of Criminal JusticeTexas State UniversitySan MarcosUSA
  3. 3.School of Criminal JusticeUniversity at Albany, State University of New YorkAlbanyUSA

Personalised recommendations