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An Evaluation of Displacement and Diffusion Effects on Eco-Terrorist Activities After Police Interventions


Eco-terrorist activities have caused much property damage and are considered one of the leading domestic terrorism threats. However, despite the threat posed by these activities, the possibility of spatial displacement of eco-terrorism as a result of police crackdowns has not previously been empirically examined. The current study focuses on addressing this knowledge gap by examining the displacement of radical environmental and animal rights movement terrorist activities after a successful police crackdown (i.e. Operation Backfire). The study uses data collected from two sources: The Global Terrorism Database and the Eco-Incidents Database. To measure the extent of spatial displacement, two types of displacement statistics were used: weighted displacement quotient (WDQ) and Local Indicators of Spatial Association (LISA) statistics. Results from WDQ analysis and LISA statistics show that the key intervention of Operation Backfire did not displace the attacks of the eco-terrorist groups. On the contrary, the law enforcement intervention effectively resulted in diffusion of benefits in adjacent areas. Overall, the results show that traditional police tactics may be a useful way to counter eco-terrorism without leading to spatial displacement. This is important as it shows that radical environmentalists and animal rights activists may be deterred, like regular criminals, by conventional law enforcement.

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Yang, Sue-Ming and I-Chin Jen. 2017. "An Evaluation of Displacement and Diffusion Effects on Eco-Terrorist Activities After Police Interventions." Journal of Quantitative Criminology (October): 1-21. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10940-017-9367-4

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