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Predicting suicide attacks: integrating spatial, temporal, and social features of terrorist attack targets

Predicting suicide attacks: integrating spatial, temporal, and social features of terrorist attack targets

Perry, Walt L., author

"The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) set out to develop ways to predict what determines the targets of suicide attacks. While the ultimate goal is to create a list of areas at risk for the U.S. environment, the first phase of development employed a data set from Israel. Initially, NRL focused on spatial attributes, creating its own risk index, but realized that this focus on the where ignored the broader social context, the why. The lab asked RAND to test, as a proof of principle, the ability of sociocultural, political, economic, and demographic factors to enhance the predictive ability of NRL's methodology. Again using Israel as a sample, RAND created a database that coded for these factors, then conducted both quantitative and qualitative analyses with an eye to determining what puts a given area at greater risk. The quantitative analysis established that these factors are related to the odds of attack within specific neighborhoods and that the relationships held even when controlling for geospatial factors, so they seem to confer risk for reasons beyond their association with geospatial features of neighborhoods. The specifics of the research are limited to the preferences of Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel; however, the methods used to assess target preferences in Israel could be transferred to the United States or other countries. Any results, if proven to be robust, could be used to develop recommendations for heightened public awareness in certain areas."--Page 4 of cover

eBook, Paperback, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Santa Monica, CA : RAND 2013

This resource is available electronically from the following locations


Statement of responsibility: Walter L. Perry, Claude Berrebi, Ryan Andrew Brown, John Hollywood, Amber Jaycocks, Parisa Roshan, Thomas Sullivan, Lisa Miyashiro
ISBN: 0833078011, 0833078038, 9780833078001, 9780833078018, 9780833078032
Note: Print version record.
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-85).
Physical Description: 1 online resource (xxv, 85 pages) : illustrations (some color), maps (some color).
Series: Rand Corporation monograph series ; MG-1246-NRL
Subject: Suicide bombings Israel.; POLITICAL SCIENCE Security (National & International); Terrorists Suicidal behavior Israel.; POLITICAL SCIENCE Political Freedom & Security Terrorism.; Terrorism Israel.
Series Title: Rand Corporation monograph series.
Local note: JSTOR Books at JSTOR Open Access


  1. Introduction and overview
  2. Quantitative data and methods
  3. Qualitative analysis
  4. Conclusions and recommendations.