Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Sociology (MA)

Degree Level



Sociology and Criminal Justice


Casey T. Harris

Committee Member

Jeffrey A. Gruenewald

Second Committee Member

Brent L. Smith

Third Committee Member

Christopher A. Shields


Social sciences, Conflict, Criminological theory, Policing, Situational crime prevention, Social disorganization, Terrorism


Prior research on terrorism has argued that local law enforcement play an important role in counterterrorism though the mechanisms by which the police should prevent terrorism are empirically unsettled and atheoretical in nature. Even less understood is how policing might differentially impact terrorism across specific ideological movements (e.g., far-right, environmental, Islamic extremism). Drawing from prominent sociological and criminological theories (i.e., Environmental perspectives, Social Disorganization, Conflict/Marxist) the current study addresses several key gaps in prior literature by utilizing data from the American Terrorism Study (ATS) paired with data from the FBI Uniform Crime Report and U.S. Census Bureau. Results suggest that counties with greater police presence and heavier officer workloads are associated with greater likelihood of terrorism, for terrorism overall and also equally across unique ideological movements, net of key controls. These findings have strong theoretical implications for the study of terrorism outcomes going forward. Additional implications for policy and future research are discussed.

Included in

Criminology Commons