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Rise of Terrorism

NCJ Number
Security Management Volume: 41 Issue: 4 Dated: April 1997 Pages: 34-39
S H Leader
Date Published
6 pages
This article presents data to support a claim that world terrorism is on the rise.
The US State Department classifies an incident as international terrorism only if it involves the citizens or territory of more than one country. By this definition, terrorist activity is on a downward trend. Statistics gathered by Pinkerton Risk Assessment Services, based on a different definition, show a growth in ethnic, religious and tribal violence, much of it not meeting the State Department's definition of international terrorism. However, the State Department and Pinkerton agree that the business sector is the leading target of terrorist attacks abroad. The article describes terrorist organizations' shifting targets and tactics, state sponsorship of terrorism, ad hoc organization, increasingly sophisticated weaponry, and new motives. For example, religiously motivated terrorists are much less interested in drawing attention to themselves and their cause and more interested in punishing adversaries by killing large numbers of people. More and more terrorists are motivated by apocalyptic religious beliefs or ethnic zeal rather than political beliefs.