National Archive of Criminal Justice Data

This dataset is maintained and distributed by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD), the criminal justice archive within ICPSR. NACJD is primarily sponsored by three agencies within the U.S. Department of Justice: the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Domestic Terrorism: Assessment of State and Local Preparedness in the United States, 1992 (ICPSR 6566) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

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 Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS1:  State Law Enforcement Agency Data - Download All Files (0.3 MB)
Documentation:
Data:
ASCII
ASCII + SPSS Setup
DS2:  State Emergency Management Organization Data - Download All Files (0.3 MB)
Documentation:
Data:
ASCII
ASCII + SPSS Setup
DS3:  Local and Municipal Law Enforcement Agency Data - Download All Files (0.4 MB)
Documentation:
Data:
ASCII
ASCII + SPSS Setup
DS4:  SAS Data Definition Statements for State Law Enforcement Agency Data - Download All Files (0.1 MB)
Data:

ASCII + SAS Setup
DS5:  SAS Data Definition Statements for State Emergency Management Organization Data - Download All Files (0.1 MB)
Data:

ASCII + SAS Setup
DS6:  SAS Data Definition Statements for Local and Municipal Law Enforcement Agency Data - Download All Files (0.1 MB)
Data:

ASCII + SAS Setup
DS7:  User Guide
Documentation:
Download:
No downloadable data files available.

Study Description

Citation

Riley, Kevin Jack, and Bruce Hoffman. DOMESTIC TERRORISM: ASSESSMENT OF STATE AND LOCAL PREPAREDNESS IN THE UNITED STATES, 1992. ICPSR version. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation [producer], 1992. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1996. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06566.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (91-IJ-CX-0019)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   anti-terrorist laws, counterterrorism, fear of crime, national security, Persian Gulf War, risk assessment, terrorism, terrorist attacks, terrorist threat

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1992

Date of Collection:  

  • 1992

Unit of Observation:   Agencies.

Universe:   All state and local law enforcement agencies in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

Research for this project was completed in January 1993, one month before the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City. The effect that this incident may have had on state and local law enforcement terrorism planning or response measures would not be reflected in this data.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Recent events, such as the bombing of the World Trade Center and the arrest of Los Angeles members of the Fourth Reich, have led to heightened security measures in the United States. The concern generated by terrorism has focused attention on federal, state, and local law enforcement crime prevention measures and preparedness and, in particular, on the reevaluation of domestic security policies and procedures nationwide. This project specifically 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." In addition to this definition, the FBI also seeks a conspiratorial dimension when evaluating potential acts of terrorism. 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.

Study Design:   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, primarily concerned with enforcing laws and maintaining public order, (2) organizations with emergency preparedness responsibilities and statewide authority but with limited powers of law enforcement, such as state departments of public safety, departments of justice, and state emergency management organizations, and (3) local law enforcement agencies, such as municipal police and sheriff departments, that have law enforcement authority which may extend to city, county, or township boundaries, but not to statewide matters. The survey process consisted of three mailings. Each selected agency received an initial packet that included a survey instrument, a letter requesting their participation, a statement of confidentiality, and a brief description of the RAND Corporation. Ten days after the first packet was sent, a second letter was sent. This letter served as a reminder to those who had not yet responded and a thank-you to those who had. Three weeks from the initial mailing, a second packet containing the same materials as the first was mailed to all who had not responded to the initial survey. Two weeks after the second packet was sent, follow-up phone calls were made to the remaining agencies that had not responded. If an agency failed to respond 20 days after the follow-up phone call, it was replaced with a jurisdiction previously selected in the sampling process.

Sample:   No sampling was necessary for the state law enforcement and emergency management agencies. For the local law enforcement agencies, a two-part sampling frame was used. For the population-based sample, 12 counties in each census region were selected. To select these 12 counties, the three largest counties from each region were selected using the 1990 Census population estimates, subject to the constraint that no two came from the same state. Next, from each regional pool, a simple random sample of three counties was drawn for the remaining counties in which the population exceeded 500,000, for counties with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, and for counties with populations less than 100,000. For each county selected, the municipal or county enforcement agency of the county seat and two additional jurisdictions were selected to complete the survey. When possible, the selection process of those jurisdictions was random. To supplement the population-based sample, 139 locations were specifically targeted that had experienced terrorist activity in the past or that housed potential terrorist targets, such as nuclear facilities and military installations.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   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 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.

Response Rates:   At the state level, of the 52 law enforcement agencies surveyed, 39 (75 percent) responded with completed or partially completed surveys. Of the 13 agencies that did not complete the survey, 5 returned incomplete or blank instruments, 5 responded by stating that they would decline to answer the survey, and 3 did not return the survey. Of the 52 state emergency management agencies, 37 (71 percent) responded with completed questionnaires. The nonrespondents from this group included six that returned incomplete or blank instruments, six that responded by stating that they would decline to answer the survey, and one that did not return the survey. For the local law enforcement agencies, 84 municipalities from the 160 agencies in the population-based pool responded, resulting in a 53-percent response rate. From the targeted group, 64 of the 139 agencies sampled responded, resulting in a 46-percent response rate. Among the population-based sample, the potential nonresponse bias was mitigated by the replacement of the local agency that refused to complete the survey with a similar local agency from the same region of the country and from the same population category. No such mechanism was used to replace targeted agencies that refused to participate. However, the targeted communities already shared the important characteristic that they were more likely to have experienced terrorism or to house a facility that might be a potential terrorist target. Caution should be used when attempting to generalize or extrapolate these survey results both because the inclusion of the targeted sample specifically selected to oversample communities more likely to experience terrorism and the exclusion of the targeted sample leaves very small case counts for many of the survey responses.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert-type scales were used.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

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