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Developing and Testing a Method for Using 911 Calls for Edentifying Potential Pre-Planning Terrorist Surveillance Activities
John Hollywood (au); Kevin Strom (au); Mark Pope (au)
Terrorist attacks are sudden and purposively designed to shock the general public. Yet, terrorist attacks also require significant planning. Selecting targets, observing and testing security measures, and asking probing questions represent critical activities in the terrorist attack cycle. These specific activities, referred to as “hostile surveillance,” offer the best opportunity to prevent and deter terrorist attacks beforethey occur, because these activities require terrorists to expose themselves, making it easier to detect their true intentions. Historically, hostile surveillance that has culminated in a terrorist attack has beenidentified post-attack, after a larger pattern of ongoing suspicious behavior was identified, compiled, and characterized, and after the true nature of the activity was revealed. This project developed and tested an analytic method for extracting useful information from suspicious behavior reports that were voluntarily given by concerned citizens using 911. The specific study objectives were to: (1) Apply data mining approaches to a commonly available data source in order to produce operationally relevant findings. (2) Develop and document an analytic process that identifies, analyzes, prioritizes, and visualizes suspicious activity data that law enforcement agencies or fusion centers can incorporate into their standard operating procedures. A threat classification system was developed that prioritizes specific cases based on time, location, and nature of the activity. (3) Identify successful processes that allow state and local agencies to integrate and analyze multiple data sources related to potential terrorist threats. Figures and tables.
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