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Database Spotlight: Police Response to Terrorism - Lessons from the Israeli Police


Database Spotlight: Police Response to Terrorism - Lessons from the Israeli Police

December 17, 2012Catherine Llamido

START has released a dataset designed to help understand the potential consequences of policing terrorism by exploring the effects of an increase in counterterrorism efforts deployed by Israeli police since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The Police Response to Terrorism: Lessons from the Israeli Police dataset is available for download through START's Dataverse site here.

In this multi-method study, START investigator and George Mason University's distinguished criminology professor, David Weisburd, gathered extensive data through in-depth interviews with retired Israeli police officials and citizens, and surveys that analyzed responses from more than 400 people from each of Israel's nine police station districts.

According to Weisburd, "the studies suggest that police should move toward increasing their counter-terrorism functions cautiously." The questionnaire sought to assess community members':

  • Trust in the police
  • Obligation to obey the law and/or police
  • Perception of procedural justice
  • Perception of police performance
  • Perception of police deterrence
  • Perception of expectations from the police
  • Willingness to cooperate with the police
  • Views concerning policing terrorism in Israel

Initial findings revealed that in situations of extreme security threats, the role police performance plays in police legitimacy increases. However, the role of procedural justice remains the primary predictor of police legitimacy, as it does in situations without extreme threats. The survey responses also illustrated that both Jewish Israelis and Arab Israelis recognize the need for police counterterrorism efforts, but both groups also indicated they perceived a possible negative impact those efforts might have on the Arab minority in Israel.

Also included in the dataset are analyses of: terrorism threat levels faced by Israeli police provided by the National Security Studies Center at the University of Hafia, the Prime Minister's office, and Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the relationship between terrorism threat levels and police performance in Israeli communities using data on Israeli police clearance rates; and of the relationship between terrorism threats and public perceptions of police over time, using data collected by Ministry of Public Security, Israel.

Over the four year course of the Police Responses to Terrorism: Lessons from the Israeli Police project, Weisburd published several articles with further analysis, including "The Israeli Model for Policing Terrorism" in the International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology Journal and "Terrorism Threats Police Performance: A Study of Israeli Communities" in the British Journal of Criminology. The Police

Responses to Terrorism: Lessons from the Israeli Police database can be found in the START dataverse site here.