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New study compares ideologically motivated homicides in United States

Victims of far-right and al-Qaida influenced extremists more unique than similar

Over the last 25 years in the United States, those inspired by al-Qaida and its associated movement (AQAM) have killed nearly seven-and-a-half times more people than far-right extremists have killed in one-fifth as many incidents. However, if you remove two outlier events – the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the Oklahoma City Bombing – far-right extremists (FRE) have killed nearly four times as many people as AQAM extremists, according to a new START report and research brief.

The research outlines the points below.

  • The number of attacks and deaths excluding the 9/11 and Oklahoma City bombing victims:
    • 62 individuals were killed by AQAM offenders in 38 incidents (1.6 victims per homicide incident) and
    • 245 individuals were killed by FRE offenders in 177 incidents (1.4 victims per homicide incident).
  • Targeting behaviors by AQAM and FRE:
    • FRE victims were more often purposefully targeted where AQAM victims were more likely to be random and representative.
    • The majority of AQAM victims were civilians.
    • FRE victims were most often targeted for racial or ethnic reasons.
  • Weapons used:
    • There was a lower use of firearms by FRE (62.9%) compared to AQAM (72.6%).
    • When compared to AQAM, FRE favored more intimate forms of violence, such as stabbing or beating their victims to death.

The full report also examines ideological-motivated homicide victimization, to include temporal, geographic, individual and incident characteristics.

The research offers some important policy considerations, including the need for a continued vigilance regarding all ideological motivated violence and standardized training among law enforcement.

To read the full report “Twenty-five years of ideological homicide victimization in the United States” visit http://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_CSTAB_ECDB_25YearsofIdeologicalHomicideVictimizationUS_March2016.pdf.

To read the brief “Victims of Ideological Homicides, 1990-2014” visit http://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_VictimsofIdeologicalHomicides_ResearchBrief_March2016.pdf.