While a key to law enforcement success is the willingness of the public to cooperate with police, we have limited understanding of how terrorist attacks affect this public readiness. Prior research suggests that terrorist attacks might increase citizen cooperation with police through both prevention efforts and rally effects. We test these assertions with three nationally representative surveys on respondents’ willingness to help police combat terrorism: one before the Boston Marathon bombings and two after. As predicted, public willingness to report suspicious behavior to police increases significantly following the bombings and there is evidence that these increases generalize to ordinary crime. We also find that knowledge of key counter terrorism programs increases after the bombings, effects are somewhat stronger for the New England area than other regions, and the strength of the results are greatly diminished 16 months after the attacks. Conclusions are similar for both panel and cross-sectional analyses.
LaFree, Gary and Amy Adamczyck. 2017. "The Impact of the Boston Marathon Bombings on Public Willingness to Cooperate With Police." Justice Quarterly 34 (June): 459-490. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07418825.2016.1181780