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The prognosis of terrorist attacks - limits of scientific findings

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on


The change of the security architecture

During the past decade, Islamic terrorism is considered as a major political threat which had far-reaching consequences. Criminal law was enacted on both national and supranational levels in Europe. This fundamental change, however, was not prefigured by the terrorist attack in New York on September 11, 2001. It is rather an expression of an ongoing development. In the 1970’s, ethnic or national political terrorism (e.g., IRA, RAF) was on the table and prompted the adoption of security measures. The penal policy agenda was diverted to drug crimes in the 1980’s.

The “war on drugs” emanating from the USA.

In the 1990’s, as a consequence of the opening of the borders in Europe, organized transnational crime took the stage and was considered a critical threat.

The adoption of covert investigative measures can especially be traced back to clandestine and partially transnational network structures. In contrast to organized crime, terrorist attacks pose a ...