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Homeland Security Risk and Preparedness in Police Agencies: The Insignificance of Actual Risk Factors

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 17 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2014 Pages: 30-53
Date Published
March 2014
24 pages

This study reviews and recommendations on homeland security risk perceptions on preparedness.


The connection between perceived risk of homeland security incidents and homeland security preparedness has received considerable support in policing literature. From a contingency theory perspective, organizations rationally respond to risks in their external environments by taking steps to prepare for homeland security incidents. In past studies examining homeland security preparedness levels, risk has typically been measured using agency executives' perceived likelihood of specific homeland security incidents occurring within their jurisdiction within a specified time range, and has largely ignored objective risk factors. In other disciplines, researchers and government organizations consider three dimensions when assessing risk: threat, vulnerability, and consequences. In the present study, the objective risk factors of social vulnerability, experience with past hazards, and built environment vulnerability not only fail to predict risk perceptions but are also not associated with preparedness measures. However, consistent with prior research, subjective risk perceptions remain a significant predictor of preparedness levels. Abstract published by arrangement with Sage Journals.

Date Published: March 1, 2014