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Situational Model for Distinguishing Terrorist and Non-Terrorist Aerial Hijackings, 1948-2007

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 29 Issue: 4 Dated: August 2012 Pages: 573-595
Susan Fahey; Gary LaFree; Laura Dugan; Alex R. Piquero
Date Published
August 2012
23 pages
This paper explored whether the situational characteristics of aerial hijacking are distinct depending on whether the perpetrator was a terrorist or someone motivated by another purpose.
Despite the centrality of situational variables to crime theories, they remain uncommon in criminology. Based on the hypotheses drawn from the literature on situational determinants of crime, the authors examine whether aerial hijackings perpetrated by terrorists are situationally distinct from other aerial hijackings. The authors define terrorist hijackings as those that include threatened or actual use of illegal force or violence to attain a political, economic, religious or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation. Other aerial hijackings include those perpetrated for transportation or extortion purposes. Using a newly updated dataset, the authors examined 1,019 aerial hijackings that occurred around the world from 1948 to 2007, out of which was classified 122 as terrorism. Results provide strong support for the argument that situational factors measuring organizational resources distinguish terrorist from non-terrorist aerial hijackings, and partial support for the argument that situational factors measuring publicity distinguish these events. Abstract published by arrangement with Taylor and Francis.