This award will produce a two-year program of research to develop a series of studies comparing the behavioral underpinnings of three types of U.S.-based offenders since 1990: solo-terrorists, lone-actor terrorists, and individuals who engage in mass casualty violence but lack an ideological motivation. In particular this research program compares the developmental, antecedent behavioral and ideological factors that crystallize within the offender and are later expressed behaviorally via the offense itself. This program of research seeks to understand whether (dis)similarities are observable across these offender types and what the relevant implications are for law enforcement.
To address these questions, the research program contains three sub-projects drawing on distinctive research methods. Each observation will be coded using a 180+ variable codebook previously developed in a Department of Homeland Security funded project. These sub-projects focus upon (a) a descriptive trend analysis of pre-crime commission behaviors in order to understand what behaviors occur commonly across these three offense types and which behaviors are increasing in extent longitudinally (b) a comparative analysis of between offender types to investigate whether distinct behavioral profiles are apparent and (c) a sequential analysis of the planning and execution of offenses using crime scripting methodologies.
By providing empirically informed and practitioner-oriented research, the project will deliver an evidential basis for informing multiple facets of investigative practice both within and across offense and offender types.