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Profiles of Individual Radicalization in the United States (PIRUS): An Empirical Assessment of Domestic Radicalization

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Date Published
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This report addresses the current progress, plans for the future, and preliminary findings of a database of approximately 1,500 individuals in the United States who committed violent and non-violent extremist acts, or who were previously members of violent extremist groups.



After extensive review, the full dataset was cleared for initial analysis in fall 2014. Quantitative analysis of the dataset is ongoing and will be completed in the summer of 2015. The project’s final report will be released in December 2015. Research to date has produced qualitative case studies of about 110 violent and non-violent radicals from across the ideological spectrum. Researchers are currently involved in coding the case studies. This will enable rigorous analysis.  Preliminary data analysis indicates that radicalization over time has occurred in several waves that correspond to the rise of ”Far Left” extremism in the late 1960s and early 1970s, “Far Right” extremism in the 1990s, and Islamist extremism after 2001. Far Left and Islamist extremists with a history of abuse were more likely to be violent. Far Right and Far Left individuals whose radicalization was characterized by the consumption of radical media were less likely to be violent, as were those who were active in religious communities. Risk factors that predicted violence for all radical individuals included having a criminal background and certain demographic risk factors, such as being young and single. “Loners,” tended to be more violent than “sociable” radicals; only 10 percent of individuals were loners. 2 figures

Date Published: January 1, 2015