Bomb threats and reports of suspicious items in the Philippines: Spatial and temporal patterns
Previous research on bomb threats focused primarily on offender characteristics and ignored the spatial and temporal patterns of these events. This study argues that bomb threats and reports of suspicious items are non-random events in space and time. Thus, the study explores the spatial and temporal patterns of these phenomena in the Philippines from January 2010 to April 2014. The author retrieves the data on these events from unclassified online media outlets and coded them for subsequent analysis. Most threats are low-level threats, which offenders communicate through text messages and calls made to government agencies, school buildings, and commercial establishments. Of these targets, airports, city halls, and courthouses have the highest risk of repeat threats. Although these threats have frequently forced evacuation of target occupants, authorities find no actual explosives in all targets. On the other hand, alert observers usually report unattended bags and boxes as suspicious items found in commercial buildings, government buildings, transport buildings, and highways. Moreover, spatial and temporal analysis reveals that bomb threats and reports of suspicious items are concentrated in space and time. Most threats and reports occur in the country’s National Capital Region (NCR), during daytime on weekdays. At the NCR level, these events cluster at a triad of cities: Manila, Quezon, and Pasay. Current evidence supports the argument that these rare phenomena are non-random events in space and time.
Keywordsbomb threats reports of suspicious items spatial and temporal patterns Philippines
The author acknowledges the assistance of Prof. Martin Gill and the helpful comments of the two anonymous reviewers of this journal. He also thanks Prof. Rhodora Cleope for reading and editing the earlier drafts of this article.
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