INTELLIGENCE Volume 1, Issue 7, August 2012
Welcome to the seventh issue of Intelligence.
Intelligence will keep you up to date with the recent advances in threat assessment from around the globe.
World-leading threat assessment figures have agreed to share their knowledge and experiences and serve on the Intelligence editorial board.
Starting this issue, I am taking over as the editor of Intelligence, and Dr. Randy Kropp joins me as associate editor. Dr. Stephen Hart remains a member of the editorial board, but also assumes responsibilities as editor of the newly-established Journal of Threat Assessment and Management (see announcement below).
We also encourage you to contribute and provide feedback.
Our Latest Research summary, Researchers Provide a Much-Needed Analysis of the Threats Posed by Radical Environmental and Animal Rights Groups, can be found in this issue, along with other research news and views.
We hope Intelligence will continue to provide a forum for you to share and develop your expertise in threat assessment.
Kelly A. Watt, PhD
Threat Assessment Specialist
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.
Researchers Provide a Much-Needed Analysis of the Threats Posed by Radical Environmental and Animal Rights Groups
Carson, J. V., LaFree, G., & Dugan, L. (2012). Terrorist and non-terrorist criminal attacks by radical environmental and animal rights groups in the United States, 1970-2007. Terrorism and Political Violence, 24, 295-319.
Radical environmental and animal rights groups have received considerable attention from the media, law enforcement, and politicians with respect to the risk they pose to society. One survey of U.S. police agencies indicated that such groups are believed to pose a threat that is second only to Islamic jihadists (Simon et al., 2008). The authors of this review also quote a former FBI Deputy Assistant Director who stated, “One of today’s most serious domestic terrorism threats come from special interest extremist movements such as the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front, and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty campaign.” However, there have been few scientific studies to dispassionately examine whether such concerns are warranted. Carson, LaFree, and Dugan have made a laudable attempt to fill this gap in the literature.
The authors were able to analyze information for over 1069 criminal incidents perpetrated by environmental and animal rights extremists in the U.S. from 1970 to 2007. They classified 17% of these incidents as meeting the criteria for terrorism as defined in the Global Terrorism Database. The researchers also interviewed a sample of 25 activists who identified themselves with these radical movements. Results indicated an exponential increase in criminal incidents from 1970 to 2001, and substantial declines since that time. The authors suggest that this may mean that the alarm raised by law enforcement agencies about these groups in recent years might be over-stated. For example, of the more than 1000 incidents perpetrated over 37 years, only one resulted in a death. Moreover, it was also found that these groups tend to actively avoid causing injury to people: only ten incidents resulted in any physical harm. But while harm to people has been extremely rare, these groups have overwhelmingly directed their terroristic efforts at causing property damage such as the destruction of power lines, businesses, and academic facilities. This study illustrates that it is property, not people that is primarily threatened by these organizations.
The authors conclude that “researchers and policy makers have long been challenged by data limitations in studies of radical environmental and animal rights groups.” This thoughtful study has done a great deal to remedy this situation. It provides valuable information for law enforcement agencies, law makers, and security services to make evidence-based choices about allocation of resources and the implementation of threat management strategies.
Simone, J., Freilich, J., & Chermak, S. (2008). Surveying state police agencies about domestic terrorism and far-right extremists. College Park, MD: National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism.
A Strategy for Reducing Domestic Violence: Victim Support Team Constables
Detective Dayle Myhre, Edmonton Police Service
Domestic violence involves crimes that greatly affect victims, their family members, the surrounding communities, and society as a whole. Each individual occurrence, however, should be investigated and followed up on a case-by-case basis as numerous factors and characteristics of each event can differ from one to the next.
In January 2012, the Edmonton Police Service (EPS) launched a city-wide Domestic Violence Reduction Strategy Program. One key and vital role within this program is filled by front line patrol constables, who are first responders to the domestic violence complaints. These constables make up the Victim Support Teams (VST) that consist of a minimum of two constables per divisional patrol squad.
The VST constables have volunteered to become specifically and further trained in domestic violence investigations and take on an active role in the domestic violence calls for service that occur each and every shift. The VST constables also take an active role in mentoring and leading other members in their squad. Whether it is assisting in the initial investigation by providing essential experience to junior members, or updating their individual squad members in current and best practices, the VST constables are a vital, essential, and integral response to domestic violence.
Through a collaborative partnership with the EPS’s Domestic Offender Crime Section, the Domestic Violence Intervention Teams, and the Victim Services Unit, the VST constables are able to provide real-time safety planning and intervention with victims of domestic violence. In addition, they prevent and reduce re-victimization through essential follow-up with victims. This follow up also includes offender management through the supervision of offenders and any bail conditions if released into the community.
The front line patrol response to domestic violence is very important in the reduction of re-victimization in regards to many crimes, including domestic violence. The EPS’s Domestic Violence Reduction Strategy Program is a collaborative effort that supports the VSTs in each patrol division. The program realizes how vital and time-sensitive the response to domestic violence truly is.
Using Social Media for Violence Prevention
People who engage in intimidating and threatening behavior increasingly use social media. We are all familiar with cases in which perpetrators have used, for example, Twitter or Facebook to engage in inappropriate communications, locate victims, or recruit others—knowingly or unknowingly—to help them carry out violence. As a consequence, threat assessment professionals need to become more familiar with the uses of social media, including the potential to use social media to help protect victims.
In his new book, The Technology of Nonviolence: Social Media and Violence Prevention, Joseph Bock discusses how social media can be used not only to assess violence risk but to prevent future violence. Bock is a former Missouri state legislator and the current Director of Global Health Training and a Teaching Professor in the Eck Institute for Global Health at the University of Notre Dame. He has years of practical experience in humanitarian relief and development and has focused on global health in South Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Haiti. Drawing from the areas of community conflict, violence prevention, and peace building, Bock’s book explores how social media can be used as a powerful means of preventing “massive violence,” which Bock defines as regular, systematic, and unrestrained use of force between groups of people. Some of the major strengths of this book include embedding practice in theory and research, focusing on building community capacity for violence prevention, and considering how modern technology can be best utilized for detecting and responding to early warning signs for violence. In contrast to traditional approaches directed at an international, national, or regional level, Bock argues that increasing emphasis should be paid to preventing violence by focusing on the community or group level. He provides powerful case examples from the United States, India, Sri Lanka, and Nairobi. For example, he describes how the Ceasefire Project in Chicago developed a social-media virtual reality approach to assist in training former gang members how to intervene in their communities before violence erupted. Joseph concludes that violence prevention at a local level, combined with the support of middle and top-level leaders, using a various combinations of technology has and can save lives.
Bock’s findings raise some important questions. If, as Bock’s review indicates, risk for community-level (“massive”) violence can be understood, assessed, and managed at the individual level using social media, isn’t it also plausible that we can use social media at the community level to understand, assess, and manage risk for individual-level violence? Can we learn more about the fundamental nature of violent ideation, threats, and acts by studying how perpetrators misuse social media? Can we harness the power of social media to detect potential perpetrators, assess their attempts to communicate with or approach victims, or monitor individual-level risk factors over time? Can we develop strategies to prevent social media from being misused, or to influence perpetrators to desist from harmful behavior? Bock’s case examples suggest his findings are perhaps most relevant to individual-level violence motivated by political, religious, or other social beliefs—but could they also be applicable to other forms of individual-level violence, such as intimate partner violence or workplace violence? There are no easy answers to these questions, but they may help stimulate theory, research, and practice in the field of threat assessment.
Bock, J. (2012). The technology of nonviolence: Social media and violence prevention. MIT Press. [ISBN-10: 0-262-01762-8, ISBN-13:978-0-262-01762-6].
Industry Association News
American Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
Message and Conference Recap from President Rachel Solov
ATAP just concluded our 22nd Annual Threat Management Conference where we had our largest turn out in several years. The agenda was packed with an all-star line-up of some of the premier experts in the field of violence risk assessment and management, including Dr. Reid Meloy, Dr. Kris Mohandie, Dr. Jens Hoffman, Dr. Stephen Hart, Dr. Michael Gelles, Mr. James Cawood, Dr. Russell Palarea, Ms. Mary Ellen O’Toole, Dr. Frederick Calhoun, Dr. Stephen White, and Mr. Glen Kraemer. Initial feedback from attendees is that this was one of the best ATAP conferences ever put together. On behalf of ATAP, I would like to thank everyone who came and supported our conference. Please mark your calendars and join us for next year’s conference, August 13-16, 2013, at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.
At our Threat Management Conference we gave two very important awards. First, James Cawood was presented with the Distinguished Achievement Award in recognition of his commitment to excellence and substantial body of work that has positively impacted the field of threat assessment. Second, Dr. Russell Palarea was awarded the Meritorious Service Award in recognition of his contributions to ATAP. Congratulations to both of these very deserving recipients! I am also excited to share that the ATAP Board of Directors has just approved a new procedure to allow international applicants to apply to become a member of ATAP. Additionally, we are on track with the development of our certification program.
The President’s of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, the Canadian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals, the Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals and the newly formed Australasian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals recently met together for the first formal International Relations Summit. We had a very productive afternoon discussing current issues in our fields and our associations. We also discussed ways of interfacing between our organizations to enhance our member benefits. Look for more information to come on this soon.
Recent shootings in Colorado, Wisconsin, and most recently in New York City have brought attention to our field of violence risk assessment and management. People want to know if events like these are predictable, and thus preventable? With the state of social media and instantaneous news coverage, violent incidence are inevitably followed by a rush to the nearest camera. At ATAP, we encourage sharing information about our field and educating the general public as to principles of violence risk assessment and management; however we discourage the Monday morning quarterbacking that often accompanies these events. We believe it is rarely helpful, and often harmful, to publicly engage in finger pointing or placing blame when all the facts are not yet known. We hope that others will join us and adopt what we believe to be a responsible and ethical approach to handling these media appearances.
Finally, ATAP is again having a Spring Regional Conference in 2013! I hope you will join us April 15-17, 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha’s affordability, conveniently located airport, and re-developed market area with its restaurants, bars and shops make it a perfect venue and we are thrilled to return. Please check our website at www.atapworldwide.org for more information.
As always, thank you for your support and be safe!
Release Date Announced for Version 3 of the HCR-20
Version 2 of the HCR-20 is one of the world’s most widely-used and best-validated violence risk assessment instruments. Originally published in 1997, the HCR-20 V2 has been translated into about 20 different languages. Work on development of Version 3 has been in progress for several years now. A draft version has been translated into several different languages and pilot-tested in a number of countries including Canada, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. HCR-20 V3 introductory conferences have been held in several countries over the past year.
Recently, Kevin Douglas, a Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, announced that the revision process is nearing its end. V3 will go to press at the end of 2012 and will be distributed in January 2013. Keep tuned to Intelligence for information regarding publication details and training workshops.
New Journal: The Journal of Threat Assessment and Management
As noted in the welcome, there is a new threat assessment journal!
The Journal of Threat Assessment and Management (JTAM) is a scholarly journal publishing peer-reviewed papers representing the science and practice of risk for violence and fear-inducing behavior. JTAM is published by the American Psychological Association and is a forum for scholarly dialogue regarding the most important emerging issues in the field. The first issue of the journal will appear in Spring 2013.
The journal will be edited by Dr. Stephen D. Hart, and day-to-day duties will be handled by a Senior Editorial Board comprising Drs. Stephen D. Hart, Jens Hoffman, J. Reid Meloy, and Lisa Warren.
JTAM will be an international periodical for professionals and scholars whose work focuses on operational aspects of threat assessment and management. The journal will be unique in three ways. First, it will be devoted exclusively to the subject of violence risk. Second, it will be applied in nature, dealing with the development, implementation, and evaluation of procedures for assessing and managing violence risk. Third, it will both reflect and promote the values of interdisciplinarity and internationalism, based on the view that preventing violence requires collaborations that cross professional and, in many cases, geopolitical boundaries.
JTAM is now accepting submissions on topics such as:
- Targeted violence
• Threats against public figures
• Intimate partner and family violence
• Group violence
• Sexual violence
• Workplace, school, and campus violence
• Assessment instruments and procedures
• Management strategies and tactics
• Threat assessment teams and units
• Operational issues
• Professional issues
• Legal issues
• Best practices
In addition to empirical reports of original research, we encourage submissions in the form of conceptual, theoretical, procedural, or legal reviews; case studies illustrating critical issues; and scholarly or professional comments and debates.
We hope you will consider submitting a paper for publication in the Journal of Threat Assessment and Management. Every published article is included in PsycINFO® and PsycARTICLES®, the world’s most comprehensive and widely used psychological databases. Published articles will be available to a global audience of nearly 3,200 institutions and 60 million potential users.
Please see a description of the journal and instructions to authors on the journal’s website at: www.apa.org/pubs/journals/
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.
Violence Risk Assessment and Management for Tertiary and TAFE Institutions
September 17-19, 2012
Canadian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
September 24-28, 2012
Third International Conference on Violence in the Health Sector
October 24-26, 2012
Vancouver, British Columbia
Australasian Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
November 8-9, 2012
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.
Violence Risk Assessment and Management for Health Care Settings
November 26-30, 2012
Vancouver, British Columbia
Association of European Threat Assessment Professionals
August 23-26, 2013
Association of Threat Assessment Professionals
August 13-16, 2013
Mid Sweden University
Vancouver Police Department / President, CATAP
Stephen D. Hart
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.
Fixated Threat Assessment Centre
Operational Consulting International, Inc.
University of Virginia
James R. P. Ogloff
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Ontario Provincial Police
Heriot Watt University
San Diego County / President, ATAP
Bram van der Meer
Black Swan Forensics / President, AETAP
Kelly A. Watt
ProActive ReSolutions Inc.