Bulletin Reports

Comparative Analysis of Violent Radicalization Across Offender Types

The National Institute of Justice presents Across the Universe? A Comparative Analysis of Violent Radicalization Across Three Offender Types with Implications for Criminal Justice Training and Education.

The authors of this study compared demographic, psychological, and offense-related behavioral variables across and between 71 lone-actor terrorists and 115 solo mass murderers. They found little to distinguish these offender types in their sociodemographic profiles; however, they found that the offenders’ behaviors differed significantly regarding their interaction with coconspirators, antecedent event behaviors, and lack of information prior to their attacks.

Mass murderers’ violence was spontaneous due to unplanned physical or emotional conflicts. Lone terrorists’ motivation to commit violence was due to ideologically based conflicts with potential target victims.

Lack of predetermined intent and strategy also distinguishes mass murderers from lone terrorists. The lone terrorist usually engages in more observable behaviors and planning. This provides more of an opportunity to observe and assess preparatory actions and intervene to prevent the planned violence from occurring.

Additional information is available in the full report, NCJ 249937, at www.ncjrs.gov.