UCL Discovery
UCL home » Library Services » Electronic resources » UCL Discovery

Similar crimes, similar behaviors? Comparing lone-actor terrorists and public mass murderers

Gill, P; Silver, J; Horgan, J; Corner, E; Bouhana, N; (2021) Similar crimes, similar behaviors? Comparing lone-actor terrorists and public mass murderers. Journal of Forensic Sciences 10.1111/1556-4029.14793. (In press). Green open access

[thumbnail of 1556-4029.14793.pdf]
Preview
Text
1556-4029.14793.pdf - Published Version

Download (513kB) | Preview

Abstract

This article adds to the growth in data-driven analyses seeking to compare samples of violent extremists with other violent populations of interest. While lone-actor terrorists and public mass murderers are frequently treated as distinct offender types, both engage (or attempt to engage) in largely public and highly publicized acts of violence and often use similar weapons. This article investigates the (dis)similarities between both offender types. We use a series of bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses to compare demographic, psychologic and behavioral variables across 71 lone-actor terrorists and 115 public mass murderers. The results show little distinction in sociodemographic profiles, but significant differences in (a) the degree to which they interact with co-ideologues (b) antecedent event behaviors and (c) the degree to which they leak information before the attack. Overall, our data inform the emerging idea that lone-actor terrorists and public mass shooters are not distinct offender types. There is more that unites them than divides them. Although the over-arching focus of our results are on the few variables that distinguish them, the vast majority (80%+), of the 180+ variables showed no significant difference. We discuss implications for threat assessment and management in the context of these results.

Type: Article
Title: Similar crimes, similar behaviors? Comparing lone-actor terrorists and public mass murderers
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.14793
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.14793
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2021 The Authors. Journal of Forensic Sciences published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Academy of Forensic Sciences
Keywords: Medicine, Legal, Legal Medicine, crime prevention, lone actor, mass murderer, terrorism, threat assessment, violent extremism, ADOLESCENT, OFFENDER, SERIAL
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Security and Crime Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10132041
Downloads since deposit
71Downloads
Download activity - last month
Download activity - last 12 months
Downloads by country - last 12 months

Archive Staff Only

View Item View Item