Advertisement

An Evaluation of Displacement and Diffusion Effects on Eco-Terrorist Activities After Police Interventions

  • Sue-Ming Yang
  • I-Chin Jen
Original Paper

Abstract

Objectives

Eco-terrorist activities have caused much property damage and are considered one of the leading domestic terrorism threats. However, despite the threat posed by these activities, the possibility of spatial displacement of eco-terrorism as a result of police crackdowns has not previously been empirically examined. The current study focuses on addressing this knowledge gap by examining the displacement of radical environmental and animal rights movement terrorist activities after a successful police crackdown (i.e. Operation Backfire).

Methods

The study uses data collected from two sources: The Global Terrorism Database and the Eco-Incidents Database. To measure the extent of spatial displacement, two types of displacement statistics were used: weighted displacement quotient (WDQ) and Local Indicators of Spatial Association (LISA) statistics.

Results

Results from WDQ analysis and LISA statistics show that the key intervention of Operation Backfire did not displace the attacks of the eco-terrorist groups. On the contrary, the law enforcement intervention effectively resulted in diffusion of benefits in adjacent areas.

Conclusions

Overall, the results show that traditional police tactics may be a useful way to counter eco-terrorism without leading to spatial displacement. This is important as it shows that radical environmentalists and animal rights activists may be deterred, like regular criminals, by conventional law enforcement.

Keywords

Displacement Eco-terrorism Environmental Terrorism 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The research was made possible through a grant award “Eco-Terrorism and the Corresponding Legislation Efforts to Intervene and Prevent Future Attacks” from The Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security & Society (TSAS). The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of The Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security & Society (TSAS). We would like to thank David Weisburd, Joshua Hinkle, Jennifer Carson, and the anonymous reviewers whose comments were invaluable in strengthening this paper. We also want to express our gratitude to L. Caitlin Kanewske and Paige Thompson for their editing assistance and thoughtful suggestions on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

References

  1. Anselin L (1995) Local indicators of spatial association—LISA. Geogr Anal 27:93–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anselin L (2003) GeoDa 0.9 user’s guide. Spatial Analysis Laboratory, University of Illinois, UrbanaGoogle Scholar
  3. Barr R, Pease K (1990) Crime placement, displacement, and deflection. Crime Justice 12:277–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bernasco W, Nieuwbeerta P (2005) How do residential burglars select target areas? Br J Criminol 44:296–315Google Scholar
  5. Bowers K, Johnson S (2003) Measuring the geographical displacement and diffusion of benefit effects of crime prevention activity. J Quant Criminol 19:275–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowers KJ, Johnson SD, Guerette RT, Summers L, Poynton S (2011) Spatial displacement and diffusion of benefits among geographically focused policing initiatives: a meta-analytical review. J Exp Criminol 7:347–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Braga AA, Weisburd D (2010) Policing problem places: crime hot spots and effective prevention. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Braga AA, Papachristos AV, Hureau DM (2012) Hot spots policing effects on crime. Campbell Syst Rev 8(8):1–96Google Scholar
  9. Braithwaite A, Johnson SD (2015) The battle for Baghdad: testing hypotheses about insurgency from risk heterogeneity, repeat victimization, and denial policing approaches. Terror Polit Violence 27:112–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cahill M (2011) Using the weighted displacement quotient to explore crime displacement from public housing redevelopment sites. Cityspace J Policy Dev Res 13:103–134Google Scholar
  11. Carson JV (2014) Counterterrorism and radical eco-groups: a context for exploring the series hazard model. J Quant Criminol 30:485–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Carson JV, Bartholomew B (2016) Terrorism outside the proverbial vacuum: implications for the moral context. Deviant Behav 37:557–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Carson JV, LaFree G, Dugan L (2012) Terrorist and non-terrorist criminal attacks by radical environmental and animal rights groups in the US, 1970–2007. Terror Polit Violence 24:295–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chauncey R (1975) Deterrence: certainty, severity, and skyjacking. Criminology 12:447–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chermak SM, Freilich J, Duran C, Parkin W (2013) An overview of bombing and arson attacks by environmental and animal rights extremists in the US, 1995–2010. In: Final Report to the Resilient Systems Division, Science and Technology Directorate, US Department of Homeland Security. START, College Park, MDGoogle Scholar
  16. Clarke RV, Eck J (2005) Crime analysis for problem solvers in 60 small steps. Center for Problem Oriented Policing, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  17. Clarke RV, Newman GR (2006) Outsmarting the terrorists. Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, CTGoogle Scholar
  18. Clarke RV, Weisburd D (1994) Diffusion of crime control benefits: observations on the reverse of displacement. In: Clarke RV (ed) Crime prevention studies. Willow Tree Press, Monsey, NY, pp 165–184Google Scholar
  19. Cohen J, Tita G (1999) Spatial diffusion in homicide: exploring a general method of detecting spatial diffusion processes. J Quant Criminol 15(4):451–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Contenta S (2014) The rise and fall of ecoterrorist rebecca rubin. Toronto Star Newspaper, Ltd. Retrieved 31 Aug 2017 from https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2014/02/02/the_rise_and_fall_of_ecoterrorist_rebecca_rubin.html
  21. Cummings R (2006) ‘What if’: the counterfactual in program evaluation. Eval J Australas 6:6–15Google Scholar
  22. Deshpande N, Ernst H (2012) Countering eco- terrorism in the US: the case of ‘operation backfire. In: Final Report to Human Factors/Behavioral Sciences Division, Science and Technology Directorate, US Department of Homeland Security. START, College Park, MDGoogle Scholar
  23. Draca M, Machin S, Witt R (2010) Crime displacement and police interventions: evidence from London’s “Operation Theseus”. In: Di Tella R, Edwards S, Schargrodsky E (eds) The economics of crime: lessons for and from Latin America. Chicago University Press, Chicago, pp 359–374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Dugan L, LaFree G, Piquero AR (2005) Testing a rational choice model of airline hijackings. Criminology 43(4):1031–1066CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Eagan S (1996) From spikes to bombs: the rise of ecoterrorism. Stud Confl Terror 19:1–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Eck J (1993) The threat of crime displacement. Crim Justice Abstr 25:527–546Google Scholar
  27. Federal Bureau of Investigation (1998) Terrorism in the US 1998. Retrieved 1 June 2014 from http://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/terror_98.pdf
  28. Federal Bureau of Investigation (2002) The threat of eco-terrorism. Retrieved 27 Jan 2014 from http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/the-threat-of-eco-terrorism
  29. Federal Bureau of Investigation (2004) Animal rights extremism and ecoterrorism. Retrieved 1 June 2014 from http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/animal-rights-extremism-and-ecoterrorism
  30. Federal Bureau of Investigation (2005) Global threats to the US and the FBI’s response. Retrieved 1 June 2014 from http://www.fbi.gov/news/testimony/global-threats-to-the-u.s.-and-the-fbis-response-1
  31. Federal Bureau of Investigation (2015) Operation backfire: ten years later, two fugitives remain. Retrieved 31 January 2017 from https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/operation-backfire-ten-years-later-two-fugitives-remain
  32. Freilich JD, Chermak SM, Simone J Jr (2009) Surveying American state police agencies about terrorism threats, terrorism sources, and terrorism definitions. Terror Polit Violence 21(3):450–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gruenewald J, Allison-Gruenewald K, Klein BR (2015) Assessing the attractiveness and vulnerability of eco-terrorism targets: a situational crime prevention approach. Stud Confl Terror 38(6):433–455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Guerette RT, Bowers K (2009) Assessing the extent of crime displacement and diffusion of benefit: a systematic review of situational crime prevention evaluations. Criminology 47(4):1331–1368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hsu HY, Apel R (2015) A situational model of displacement and diffusion following the introduction of airport metal detectors. Terror Polit Violence 27(1):29–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Johnson SD, Guerette RT, Bowers K (2014) Crime displacement: what we know, what we don’t know, and what it means for crime reduction. J Exp Criminol 10(4):549–571CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jones SG, Libicki MC (2008) How terrorist groups end: Lessons for countering Al Qa’ida. Rand Corporation, Santa Monica, CAGoogle Scholar
  38. Joosse P (2007) Leaderless resistance and ideological inclusion: the case of the earth liberation front. Terror Polit Violence 19:351–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Joosse P (2012) Elves, environmentalism, and eco-terror: leaderless resistance and media coverage of the earth liberation front. Crime Media Cult 8:57–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. LaFree G, Dugan L (2007) Introducing the global terrorism database. Terror Polit Violence 19(2):181–204CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. LaFree G, Morris N, Dugan L, Fahey S (2006) Identifying cross-national global terrorist hot spots. In: Victoroff J (ed) Tangled roots: social and psychological factors in the genesis of terrorism. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp 98–114Google Scholar
  42. LaFree G, Dugan L, Korte R (2009a) The impact of British counterterrorist strategies on political violence in Northern Ireland: comparing deterrence and backlash models. Criminology 47(1):17–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. LaFree G, Morris N, Dugan L (2009b) Cross-national patterns of terrorism: comparing trajectories for total, attributed and fatal attacks, 1970–2006. Br J Criminol 50:622–649CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. LaFree G, Dugan L, Cragin K (2010) Trends in terrorism, 1970–2007. In: Hewitt JJ, Wilkenfeld J, Gurr TR (eds) Peace and conflict: 2010. Paradigm Publishers, Boulder, pp 51–64Google Scholar
  45. LaFree G, Dugan L, Xie M, Singh P (2012) Spatial and temporal patterns of terrorist attacks by ETA 1970–2007. J Quant Criminol 28:7–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. LaFree G, Miller E, Yang SM (2013) Terrorism in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, 1970–2008. Secur Peace 9(2):77–86Google Scholar
  47. Landes WM (1978) An economic study of US aircraft hijackings, 1961–1976. J Law Econ 21:1–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Liddick DR (2006) Eco-terrorism: radical environmental and animal liberation movements. Greenwood Publishing Group, Westport, CTGoogle Scholar
  49. Loadenthal M (2013) ‘The Green Scare’ & ‘Eco-Terrorism’: the development of US Counter-Terrorism Strategy Targeting Direct Action Activists. In: Del Gandio J, Nocella AJ II (eds) The terrorization of dissent: corporate repression, legal corruption and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. Lantern Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  50. Long D (2004) Ecoterrorism. Facts on File, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  51. Lum C, Kennedy LW, Sherley AJ (2006) The effectiveness of counter-terrorism strategies: a systematic review. Campbell Syst Rev. doi: 10.4073/csr.2006.2 Google Scholar
  52. Minor WW (1975) Skyjacking crime control models. J Crim Law Criminol 66:94–105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Nagin DS, Solow RM, Lum C (2015) Deterrence, criminal opportunities, and police. Criminology 53(1):74–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Painter K, Farrington DP (1999) Street lighting and crime: diffusion of benefits in the Stoke-on-Trent project. In: Painter K, Tilley N (eds) Crime prevention studies. Crime Justice Press, Monsey, NYGoogle Scholar
  55. Perry S, Apel R, Newman GR, Clarke RV (2016) The situational prevention of terrorism: an evaluation of the Israeli West Bank barrier. J Quant Criminol. doi: 10.1007/s10940-016-9309-6 Google Scholar
  56. Pike S (2013) Uprooted. AEON Essay. Retrieved 29 Sept 2014 from https://aeon.co/essays/eco-activists-speak-about-their-conversion-experiences
  57. Ratcliffe JH, Breen C (2011) Crime diffusion and displacement: measuring the side effects of police operations. Prof Geogr 63(2):230–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ratcliffe JH, Taniguchi T, Groff ER, Wood JD (2011) The Philadelphia foot patrol experiment: a randomized controlled trial of police patrol effectiveness in violent crime hotspots. Criminology 49(3):795–831CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Repetto TA (1976) Crime prevention and the displacement phenomenon. Crime Delinq 22:166–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Rosenfeld R (2004) Terrorism and criminology. In: DeFlem M (ed) Terrorism and counter-terrorism: criminological perspectives. Elsevier, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  61. Sherman LW, Weisburd D (1995) General deterrent effects of police patrol in crime “hot spots”: a randomized, controlled trial. Justice Q 12:625–648CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Smith RK (2008) Ecoterrorism? A critical analysis of the vilification of radical environmental activists as terrorists. Environ Law 38:537–576Google Scholar
  63. Smith BL, Damphousse KR (2009) Patterns of precursor behaviors in the life span of a US environmental terrorist group. Criminol Public Policy 8(3):475–496CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Smith BL, Cothren J, Roberts P, Damphousse KR (2009) Terrorism in time and space. National Institute of Justice, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  65. Smith BL, Roberts P, Damphousse KR (2017) The terrorists’ planning cycle. In: LaFree G, Freilich JD (eds) The handbook of the criminology of terrorism. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, pp 62–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Su Y, Yang S (2016) Legislative efforts to prevent eco-terrorist attacks. In: LaFree G, Freilich JD (eds) The handbook of the criminology of terrorism. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, pp 535–552Google Scholar
  67. Teichman D (2005) The market for criminal justice: federalism, crime control, and jurisdictional competition. Mich Law Rev 103:1831–1876Google Scholar
  68. Telep CW, Weisburd D, Gill CE, Vitter Z, Teichman D (2014) displacement of crime and diffusion of crime control benefits in large-scale geographic areas: a systematic review. J Exp Criminol 10:515–548CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Thomas TS, Casebeer WD (2004) Violent systems: defeating terrorists, insurgents, and other non-state adversaries. PsycEXTRA Dataset. doi: 10.1037/e645212007-001 Google Scholar
  70. Townsley M, Homel R, Chaseling J (2003) Infectious burglaries: a test of the near repeat hypothesis. Br J Criminol 43:615–633CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Vanderheiden S (2005) Eco-terrorism or justified resistance? Radical environmentalism and the “war on terror”. Polit Soc 33:425–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Weisburd D, Telep C (2014) Hot spots policing: what we know and what we need to know. J Contemp Crim Justice 30(2):200–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Weisburd D, Bushway S, Lum C, Yang S (2004) Trajectories of crime at places: a longitudinal study of street segments in the City of Seattle. Criminology 42(2):283–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Weisburd D, Wyckoff L, Ready J, Eck JE, Hinkle JC, Gajewski F (2006) Does crime just move around the corner? A controlled study of spatial displacement and diffusion of crime control benefits. Criminology 44(3):549–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Weisburd D, Groff E, Yang S (2012) The criminology of place: street segments and our understanding of the crime problem. Oxford University Press, OxfordCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Wiles P, Costello A (2000) The ‘road to nowhere’: the evidence for traveling criminals. Home Office Research Study 207. Home Office, LondonGoogle Scholar
  77. Yang D (2008) Can enforcement backfire? Crime displacement in the context of customs reform in the Philippines. Rev Econ Stat 90(1):1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Yang S, Su Y, Carson J (2014) Eco-terrorism and the corresponding legislative efforts to intervene and prevent future attacks. In: Final Report to The Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security & SocietyGoogle Scholar
  79. Young M (2015) The family: America’s most prolific domestic terrorism cell. News.Com.AU. Retrieved 31 Jan 2017 from http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/the-family-americas-most-prolific-domestic-terrorism-cell/news-story/62da5ed8a0f54112834e207846783946

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminology, Law and SocietyGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.Department of CriminologyNational Chung Cheng UniversityChiayi CountyTaiwan

Personalised recommendations