Terrorist threats and police performance

David Weisburd*, Badi Hasisi, Tal Jonathan, Gali Aviv

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


In recent years, scholars and police practitioners have become increasingly concerned with the possible impacts of terrorism on police performance. Some scholars have argued that increased terrorist threats will reduce resources that are devoted to ordinary policing functions such as solving crimes, and that anti-terrorism functions may overshadow traditional police activities. Others have suggested that heightened surveillance due to terrorist threats could have unintended crime prevention benefits. In this study, we examine the impacts of terrorist threats on one aspect of police performance - the clearance of police files. Using Israel during the Second Intifada (2000-04) as a case study, we analyse the impact of level of terrorist threat, while controlling for other possible confounding factors, separating out communities that are primarily Jewish or Arab. Our analyses suggest that terrorist threats have a significant impact upon police performance, though that impact varies strongly by type of community. Higher levels of threat are associated with lower proportions of cleared cases in the majority Jewish communities, and higher proportions in the majority Arab communities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)725-747
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Criminology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2010


  • Clearance rates
  • Counter-terrorism
  • Police performance
  • Policing terrorism
  • Terrorist threats


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