New report shows terrorism is top of mind in US

April 16, 2013

(Phys.org) —More Americans think about terrorist attacks than violent crime victimization or hospitalization, according to a new report published by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), headquartered at the University of Maryland. A new study reveals that about 15 percent of those surveyed had thought about the prospect of terrorism in the United States during the preceding week, significantly more than the percentage who said they thought about the possibility of hospitalization (10 percent) or violent crime victimization (10 percent).

Furthermore, almost a quarter of those who said they had thought about terrorism reported that it made them extremely or very worried.

The survey and resulting report, "U.S. Attitudes towards Terrorism and Counterterrorism," aim to provide baseline information about beliefs and attitudes on terrorism and counterterrorism in the U.S.

"Improved understanding of can inform programs and tools related to managing public , increasing effectiveness of pre-and post-event communication by Federal, state, and local officials, and building and supporting more resilient social networks within and across communities," said Gary LaFree, professor of and Criminal Justice at UMD, START director and co-author of the report.

A large majority of respondents said that the U.S. government has been very effective (33 percent) or somewhat effective (54 percent) at preventing terrorism, despite the fact that 69 percent endorsed the view that "terrorists will always find a way to carry out major attacks no matter what the U.S. government does."

The survey also found that clear majorities of respondents were willing to meet with local police or officials from the (DHS) to discuss terrorism, data which suggest that community outreach programs may be a viable strategy for countering violent extremism in the United States.

While the survey highlights the public belief that the U.S. government is addressing terrorism effectively, the study's research team suggests that increased government support for public outreach efforts and community-engagement programs could be beneficial. More than 56 percent of respondents had not heard anything about DHS' "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign, while 85 percent of those who had heard something about the program thought it would be very or somewhat effective. The campaign is designed to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities.

Developed by leading survey methodologists in consultation with experts in terrorism, counterterrorism and community resilience, the survey was completed by 1,576 individuals 18 years of age and older in the fall of 2012. A second survey will be conducted in 2013.

Explore further: Terrorism risk determines homeland security spending

More information: www.start.umd.edu/start/publications/research_briefs/START_USAttitudesTowardTerrorismandCounterterrorism_ResearchBrief_March2013.pdf

Related Stories

Terrorism risk determines homeland security spending

June 5, 2008

A new study in Policy Studies Journal reveals that measures of terrorism risk are found to be positive determinants of Homeland Security funding, while measures of political influence and party affiliation of elected officials ...

Report: Discovery networks hostage-taking a rare terror event

September 2, 2010

A new report by terrorism researchers at the University of Maryland concludes that the deadly hostage-taking incident at the Discovery Communications headquarters in suburban Washington, D.C. meets the criteria of a terrorist ...

Growing US violent extremism by the numbers: UMD database

December 12, 2011

Over the past decade, attacks and plots by homegrown terrorists in the United States have increased, the work of extremists from across the political spectrum - roughly 40 percent of it by so-called 'lone wolf,' non-aligned ...

What makes solo terrorists tick?

December 15, 2011

The double terrorist attack in Norway last July, which claimed 77 lives, has moved violent acts committed by single individuals up the political, media and now research agendas. Known as "lone wolf terrorism," these acts ...

Recommended for you

Pigments, organelles persist in fossil feathers

August 27, 2015

A study provides multiple lines of new evidence that pigments and the microbodies that produce them can remain evident in a dinosaur fossil. In the journal Scientific Reports, an international team of paleontologists correlates ...

Political polarization on Twitter depends on the issue

August 27, 2015

Twitter offers a public platform for people to post and share all sorts of content, from the serious to the ridiculous. While people tend to share political information with those who have similar ideological preferences, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.