Security Journal

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 7–25

The Conjunction of Terrorist Opportunity: A Framework for Diagnosing and Preventing Acts of Terrorism

  • Jason Roach
  • Paul Ekblom
  • Richard Flynn
Research Article

DOI: 10.1057/

Cite this article as:
Roach, J., Ekblom, P. & Flynn, R. Secur J (2005) 18: 7. doi:10.1057/


This paper outlines a framework which draws together the currently fragmented understandings of, and actions against, terrorism. The ‘conjunction of terrorist opportunity’ (CTO) stems from a widely known equivalent in crime prevention. Detailed distinctions emerge which clarify the relationship between crime and terrorism. There is special emphasis on historical and higher-level emergent causes, including terrorists' pursuit of strategic objectives and the career of the terrorist organisation itself, as it co-evolves with the society trying to frustrate and destroy it. But the framework seeks to anchor these understandings by reference to terrorist events and their immediate causes. On the basis of this analysis a suite of interventions can then be chosen to match terrorist problem and context and to reflect tactical and strategic priorities. Although the framework is only sketched here, it appears sufficiently promising to test out on a range of case studies by diagnosing causes and describing or suggesting interventions.


Terrorism opportunity co-evolution prevention conceptual framework 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jason Roach
    • 1
  • Paul Ekblom
    • 2
  • Richard Flynn
    • 3
  1. 1.Postgraduate Student, Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science, University CollegeLondon
  2. 2.Visiting Professor, Central St Martins College of Art and Design, University of the ArtsLondon
  3. 3.Department of CriminologyPostgraduate Student, University of Leicester

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