Radicalized Environmental Extremism and Situational Decision Making


Sociology and Criminal Justice

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Objective: In this study, we investigate extremists’ appraisals of and sensitivity to perceived sanction risk during the commission of arson. We pay specific attention to the decision-making processes of extremists leading up to and during the offending opportunity. Methods: We examined data collected from self-reported communiqués (n = 275) describing acts of arson committed by radical environmental extremists. Results: We found that extremists, like other criminals, are sensitive to situational factors that affect the certainty of apprehension. Additionally, extremists work to reduce the risk of detection by engaging in crime-specific risk management techniques prior to and during the offending opportunity. Conclusions: Analysis of the communiqués is consistent with recent works on extremism, situational crime prevention, and restrictive deterrence. We discuss our findings in the context of rational choice and situational crime prevention theory and the advancement of preventative policies aimed at ideological and political crime.

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Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

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