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Prediction Model for Incident Resolution

NCJ Number
Journal of Police Crisis Negotiations Volume: 7 Issue: 2 Dated: 2007 Pages: 53-83
Hugh M. McGowan Ph.D.
Date Published
31 pages
This essay presents a contextual model that offers greater potential for predicting the outcome of hostage-taking/barricaded situations than the traditional motivational model.
The proposed model for predicting hostage-taking outcomes has three independent variables ("context," "containment," and "conversation") and one dependent variable ("resolution"). "Context" is the combination of two variables: injury to the hostage prior to police arrival at the scene and confrontation with the police when they arrive at the scene. A favorable context is one in which there is no violence or injury prior to the arrival of the police and there is no violent confrontation with the police when they arrive at the scene. The "containment" variable involves the degree to which the hostage-taker or barricaded individual and any hostages are confined to a fixed area. Containment occurs when the police are impeded from access to the hostage-taker and the hostages, and the hostage-taker and hostages are impeded from exiting the location. Physical containment that both limits the movement of the police and the hostage-taker and the hostages is related to a favorable outcome because it provides time and a location for police resources and strategy to be deployed and planned. The "conversation" variable is favorable if a dialog is developed and continues to a resolution. A favorable outcome is not predicted if a dialog is not developed and/or is started but subsequently broken off and not resumed. A "resolution" is favorable when there is no violence or injury in the course of the hostage-taking/barricaded situation. It is dependent on the favorable content of the three independent variables. This model is based on an analysis of 170 hostage and barricaded incidents that confronted the New York Police Department between 1988 and 1997. 4 figures, 2 case studies and 36 references