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Domestic Terrorism: Assessment of State and Local Preparedness in the United States, 1992

Metadata Updated: November 28, 2023

This project sought to analyze states' and municipalities' terrorism preparedness as a means of providing law enforcement with information about the prevention and control of terrorist activities in the United States. To accomplish this objective, a national survey of state and local law enforcement agencies was conducted to assess how law enforcement agencies below the federal level perceive the threat of terrorism in the United States and to identify potentially promising anti- and counter-terrorism programs currently used by these jurisdictions. For the purposes of this survey, the researchers used the legal definition of terrorism as provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which is "the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment of either, to further political or social objectives." However, incidents reported by state or local law enforcement agencies as potential terrorist incidents often are reclassified as ordinary crimes by the FBI if the FBI investigation does not reveal evidence that more than one crime was intended to be committed or that a network of individuals had prepared to carry out additional acts. Since these reported potential terrorist incidents may provide important early warnings that an organized terrorism effort is emerging, the researchers broadened the official definition to include suspected incidents and state and local officials' perceptions of crime due to terrorism. Three distinct jurisdictions with overlapping responsibilities for terrorism preparedness were surveyed in this study: (1) state law enforcement agencies, in most cases the state police, (2) organizations with emergency preparedness responsibilities and statewide authority but with limited powers of law enforcement, and (3) local law enforcement agencies, such as municipal police and sheriff departments. Similar questions were asked for all three jurisdiction groups. Variables pertaining to the organization include questions about contingency plans, guidelines, and special police training for dealing with threats of terrorism, the amount and types of information and resources exchanged among various agencies, and whether the agency had a special terrorism unit and, if so, its duties. Variables dealing with threat assessment include whether the agency had identified right-wing, left-wing, international, ethnic/emigre, or special-issue terrorist groups within their jurisdiction and how many incidents were attributed to each group. Additional variables provide information on whether the agency was involved in investigating any terrorist incidents and the type of support received from other agencies for these investigations. The risk assessment section of the survey sought information on whether the agency had conducted a risk assessment and what potential terrorist targets were present in their jurisdiction. Questions in the threat environment section cover the respondent's assessment of the impact of the Persian Gulf War, the agency's sources of information pertaining to terrorism, the likelihood of terrorist attacks on various major installations nationally, and the likelihood of a major attack in their jurisdiction. Administrative variables include the number of sworn officers or professional staff, number of support staff, department's budget for the current fiscal year, whether the agency received federal funds, and what percentage of the federal funds were used for anti-terrorism efforts.

Access & Use Information

Public: This dataset is intended for public access and use. License: us-pd

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Metadata Created Date August 18, 2021
Metadata Updated Date November 28, 2023

Metadata Source

Harvested from DOJ JSON

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Created Date August 18, 2021
Metadata Updated Date November 28, 2023
Publisher National Institute of Justice
Identifier 2875
Data First Published 1996-10-01T00:00:00
Language eng
Data Last Modified 1996-10-01T00:00:00
Public Access Level public
Bureau Code 011:21
Metadata Context
Metadata Catalog ID
Schema Version
Catalog Describedby
Harvest Object Id 442fe607-1bc5-4653-a644-299a8fe3193a
Harvest Source Id 3290e90a-116f-42fc-86ac-e65521ef3b68
Harvest Source Title DOJ JSON
Program Code 011:060
Publisher Hierarchy Office of Justice Programs > National Institute of Justice
Source Datajson Identifier True
Source Hash 4da680b2655965c7dc2e5745da0fdd4add4764180630bfc1326ea6c59dcd2ab4
Source Schema Version 1.1

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