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Profiling for terrorist and criminal activities


Terrorism may be defined as the calculated and deliberate use of violence towards non-combatants, usually civilians, to instill fear as a form of coercion. Tribal groups, nationalistic groups, criminal organizations, religious groups, revolutionaries and ruling governments, in attaining  some predetermined goals, have perpetrate such violence without regard to the losses suffered.  Terrorism has led to huge losses in terms of human lives and economic terms, becoming one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century (Federal Research Division, 19).

The motivation behind terrorism has largely being blamed on either the psychology of the individual or the sociological impact of the group which perpetrate these acts. Borum, (2004) argues that many scholars have differed from academic literature on terrorism that suggests that psychological understanding of the individual is by itself adequate in understanding what motivates a terrorist. These scholars propose an interdisciplinary approach in order to sufficiently understand terrorist motivation. According to Borum (2004), terrorists are motivated not only by psychological factors but also very real economic, social, religious and political factors, among others.

However, different tribal groups, nationalistic groups, criminal organizations, religious groups and revolutionaries are known to have widely varied goals and ideals. Some of these terrorist organizations are known to be successful in normal endeavors such as business and organization (Federal Research Division, 27).  Therefore, the groups rarely present a degenerate state or an unsuccessful management situation.  Terrorist groups’ leaders like Abu Nidal, Osama Bin Laden or Imad Mughniyah exhibited quite coherent and proficient skills in running their organizations, including business administration, management and operations planning (Federal Research Division, 41).

Also, gangs are a complex phenomenon because of the dynamic nature of the gang culture and persistent changes regarding how gangs undertake their activities. The current usage of gangs is mostly associated with criminal organizations (Howell, 36). The concept of gangs is usually complicated and dynamic due to the persistent modifications of the gang culture; this makes it difficult to devise approaches that can be used to classify gangs basing on the core factors such as demographics, colors and symbols that the various gangs are using. In addition, there is a variation in terms of the gang membership, size, the organizational structure, ethnicity, and variations in the criminal activities that gangs undertake. This paper explores the current status, historical growth and the projected trends regarding gang membership in the United States and the current research on gang formation and the implications on the society, community, local and national level. In addition, the paper identifies and classifies the types of gangs that are common in the various geographical and societal communities and their effect on social, educational and criminal justice systems. The paper also conducts an assessment of various approaches, programs and policies for community response and a synthesis of the relevant issues in gang formation and functioning.

However, the most notable concern in gang membership and activities was during the 1990s that saw an increase in the rates of gun violence and homicidal crimes related to gangs. This can be attributed to an increase in the social anxiety regarding youth gangs at a time where gang activities and membership increased in the urban and rural areas (Maxfield & Earl, 51). The National Youth Gang Center was established in order address the increasing cases of gang membership and activities during the 1990s. According to the current estimates by the NYGC, they are approximately 30500 youth gangs, with at least active 815896 members. This trend of gang membership clearly indicates that gang membership in the United States is likely to increase in future (National Drug Intelligence Center, 29). The September 11 terrorist attacks not only introduced racial profiling in United States and other nations in a new dimension, but it also encouraged the same in other parts of the world. Britain and other European for example, have taken over the phenomenon and have become pro-campaigners of racial profiling against Arabs and Muslims. Britain and many other European countries are known of their close ties with the United States and have also been targets of terrorism attacks after September 11, 2001. Muslims of Arabic origin are verbally attacked and assaulted in Europe as evidenced in daily news in the media (Stephen 26). There has been cases where properties belonging to Arabic Muslims are destroyed and Muslims attacked in their places of worship; mosques.

It is also important to note the manner in which the terrorists express their intentions for it provides a strong basis on how to provide mitigation measures to their attacks.  The professional approaches with which these groups use to put across their demands appear quite rational rather than psychopathic. An example is the manner in which the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization, is fighting for the independence of the Greater Basque Country spanning a wide area from Navarre in Spain to the French Basque Country in France. The group is composed of the Basque race opposing the migration and settlement of other Spaniards on their farmlands, a rather noble idea. But the group does so by terrorizing civilians through train and airport bombings (Kegley, 23).

How terror profiling can help curb terrorism

Terrorism profiling has of the recent past woken up the intelligence led policing that is twinned to the concepts to the response towards new mechanisms applied by the terror groups. The UN Security Council policies on terror activities strongly applauds tendency towards a heavily expanded dependence on private security is obvious all over the world. This raises issues of police grouping or competitions with other private security need for omission of its activities, and possibilities that fortunate people can reward themselves at the expense those who live in economically destitute and treacherous areas (Brodeur, 2000).  There is need for integration in the work of private security firms and police organizations to ensure that conflicts do not occur in their operations. This is important especially in crimes that cuts across different domains and require co-operation from any available security apparatus to ensure adequate measures to combat the crime are put in place. The united states of America and other states has adopted new mechanisms of dealing with the current forms in which terrorists perpetrate their missions by training its security staffs on how to handle the issues of terrorism, has also hired anti terrorism experts including officers from the foreign languages that adapt easily in terror profiled racial. The intelligence if fully too monitoring the reports on the terror activity profiling and this is aimed at keeping them with clear picture on the new terror plan inventions.

It is imperative that United States government and the general society own up to the fact, there is an emerging trend of islamophobia and xenophobic attitude in the country. A critical analysis of the Islam will reveal that Islam religion do not advocate for terrorism as an act of religion. In fact, terrorism is only aggravated by a mere section of Islam extremists who are at the pursuit of their own interests. American Muslims do not conform to extremism and a close study of American Islam edifies that American Muslims are contemporary Muslims who conforms to secularity in a secular society. Islam extremists do not tolerate secularity and western cultures’. The fundamental issue is that American need to study the psychological and behavioral patterns of terrorists before subjecting every Arab and Muslim to racial profiling.

The world may be against all forms associated with terror profiling, governments and constitutions may prohibit the use of race and religion as factors to determine who is a terrorist, but racial profiling still remains prevalent since the United States bombings on September 11. Although the United States have denied the continued use of racial profiling by its key law enforcement agencies, the practice is still used in airports and areas vulnerable to entry of terrorists within the boarders of the united states. The current efforts by human rights organization and American-Muslims groups in the United States will rarely be fruitful, if the majority of the Americans still prefer racial profiling as means to their security. Nevertheless, the United States government is given a responsibility by its citizens to instill proper security, but at the same time observance of personal and civil rights cannot be compromised.

As to what is more important between the psychology of the individual and the sociological impact of the group, it depends on how one views the case. To the leader of the terrorist group, the psychology of the individual is more important so as to be able to have the courage to perform the task. While to the low ranking group members, it is vital that they feel as accepted members of the group and appreciated for the skill they bring to the group. In my opinion, I agree with the ideology that the primary attraction is often to the group, or community of believers, rather than to abstract principles and violence.  It is the pressure to please the group that leads to the violence. In most countries, the constitution or the policies on the criminal justice is termed as the mode through which the government and the judicial system use to uphold the ethics of the constitution in social control and shielding the state from criminology including terrorism. The criminal justice is also used to uphold justice in most States as it serves as the standing order to be followed in incidences of law violation; it also provides the penalties and actions to be taken to the law offenders and criminals (Davenport, 67). The American criminal justice states that justice should be uphold in all cases such that the accused will receive justice from the law.  The criminal justice in the world serves as the reduction of crime as its primary role; this is done by ensuring that all law offenders are brought to books and brought to face the law. In regard to community policing, the police or the intelligence has also done proper information dissemination to aid the community based on terror profiling to help curb the security threats on the surrounding. The terror profiling has also led stiff immigration rules particularly those with foreign speaking languages. This is based on the fact that the September 11 attacks were facilitated by the foreigner al-Qaeda groups. Terror profiling has also helped most states like the United States of America to beef up the securities in most vulnerable areas particularly the social public places in which its understood that the terrorist in most occasions target large populations or prominent people in particular government positions.

Terror profiling too helps the police to have an understanding of the nature of the threats thus a basis for the formulation of the protection plans from terrorism. Changing priorities of different police forces have led to many focusing on primary security related concerns at the expense of other services like community policing and service.  Review boards cannot effectively carry out these duties because they have several limitations. One is that since they use volunteers who cannot dedicate much of their time in the activities of the boards.

The future is bound to witness all forms of crime as more channels of communication become sophisticated.  Also, the financial and commercial entities continue to change bringing about new challenges.  The development and amalgamation of different countries economies has many challenges associated with it especially when it comes to the issue of criminal blending and operations of rightful economic activities (Brodeur, 52).  Proceeds from illegitimate criminal activities will continue to be channeled into legal enterprises and investments. Transnational crimes occur due to increase in networks across borders provide easier opportunities to engage in crime activities that transcends territorial boundaries. Crime is moving to another level of sophistication with incorporation of technology by organized crime networks to carry out their criminal activities. Terror profiling has indeed helped the state securities, the police networks will need to adapt to fast changes of technology and this means that greater efforts should be channeled towards skills training to appropriately prepare them to adequately address the increasing complexity of criminal networks.


Works Cited

Borum Randy.  Psychology of Terrorism. Retrieved October 6, 2011

Cindy Combs. Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century. Prentice Hall. 2010

Charles Kegley. The new global terrorism: characteristics, causes, controls. Prentice Hall, 2003.

Federal Research Division, L. o. The Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why? Retrieved October 6, 2011,

Frank Madisen. Policing the globe: criminalization and crime control in international relations. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2007

Janine Levy. Terrorism Issues and Developments. Nova Publishers.2007

National Gang Center. Publications. Retrieved September 1, 2011

Sandra Stone. Contemporary gang issues: an inside view. Chicago: New Chicago School Press.2000


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