Research Paper: Community Outreach and Counterterrorism

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[. . .] While programs directed at raising public awareness concerning terrorism were largely successful, there were also cases of individuals feeling that they were discriminated on account of their background. Canada's "National Security Community Outreach Program was created to respond to issues raised by the minority communities of Canada during the Anti-terrorism Act (ATA) Tri-annual Parliamentary Review as well as community consultations conducted since the passage of ATA." (Nikbay & Hancerli 2007, p. 321) The program was intended to address ideas that were likely to support terrorism. However, particular communities felt that they were targeted and that the masses were practically encouraged to discriminate them.

Community outreach programs need to be perfectly organized so as for people to be able to differentiate between individuals belonging to a certain group and persons who are likely to engage in terrorist acts. Otherwise the masses might be inclined to focus on addressing a community as a whole without actually understanding its cultural values and the way that they work. Many individuals end up being innocent victims of anti-terrorism campaigns simply because they are associated with particular types of thinking. It is thus extremely important to provide educational messages that succeed in having people actually understand the attitudes they should take with regard to terrorism. Community outreach anti-terrorism programs can actually work as a tool to fight discrimination. Considering that the masses tend to discriminate certain groups as they are enraged with terrorist acts, people who comprehend how terrorism acts can focus on fighting the concept rather than to take stereotypes into account.

The authorities and the masses have similar goals when it comes to terrorism. As a consequence, people who understand this idea are more probable to cooperate with law enforcement officers and to reduce the risk of terrorist acts occurring in their vicinity. When acting with the intention of helping police officers, individuals also act themselves. The more terrorist acts they prevent, the less they are likely to be the victim of one. Even though such thinking should be based on a person wanting to do honorable things, it is essentially meant to assist people in general. Most persons who volunteer in community outreach problems are well-aware with the importance of acting out of their own interest.

The U.S. has well organized community outreach programs and the FBI is in charge of having the general public better-acquainted with the important role people can play in fighting terrorism. "The FBI's outreach is done both at the national and at the local level, where each of the FBI's 56 field offices has a Community Outreach Program aimed at developing relations with local community leaders." (Coolsaet 2011, p. 252) The institution has realized the importance of educating people and has actually developed an eight-week training program that helps FBI officers and community leaders come together and understand each-other's point-of-view. During this program, citizens are assisted in seeing things from the perspective of an FBI agent and to eventually learn more about some of the most effective means of getting both themselves and people in their communities prepared to deal with potential terrorist threats.

What both the masses and law enforcement officers need to understand is that terrorism should not be considered as a concept that occurs only in isolate cases. The worst forms of terrorism are actually the ones when perpetrators do not fit stereotypes, as these cases make it more difficult for people and for the authorities alike to effectively fight the act. This is why the masses need to keep an open mind with regard to the concept.

Exploitable weaknesses

Although terrorist organizations are perceived as communities that are difficult to deal with on account of their ability to keep a low profile, they have a series of weaknesses that can be effectively addressed as long as the authorities concentrate on them. One of the most important weaknesses associated with terrorist organization is the fact that they are relatively small in size. "The number of people actively involved in terrorism in any such organization is no more than a few hundred including the planners, the engineers and technicians who produce the explosive belts, those who arrange the transportation, the intelligence gathering activists and the decision-making leadership." (NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Science and Technology Policies for the Anti-Terrorism Era 2006, p. 56) This usually means that their power and resources are limited. Furthermore, they are typically led by a charismatic individual who manages to inspire his followers and who is largely responsible for the group's ideology.

The authorities are often inclined to ignore activists on account of their public personae. Such actions are normally justified with law enforcement officers thinking that they need to focus on less visible individuals and communities, as these are the most likely to engage in criminal activities. Even with this, by putting constant pressure on activists, the authorities are very probable to experience positive results in their fight against terrorism.

Conclusion

Community outreach is an efficient way of fighting terrorism. Through encouraging the masses to get actively involved in helping law enforcement officers as they struggle to identify, discourage, and capture potential terrorists, the authorities are much more likely to win the war against terrorism. One should acknowledge the fact that the masses have the ability to cover much more ground and to identify potential terrorist acts much faster than the authorities.

Works cited:

Coolsaet, R. (2011). "Jihadi Terrorism and the Radicalisation Challenge: European and American Experiences." Ashgate Publishing.

Johnson, J.A. Ledlow, G.R., & Cwiek, M. (2005)."Community Preparedness and Response to Terrorism: Communication and the media." Greenwood Publishing Group.

Nikbay, O. & Hancerli, S. (2007). "Understanding and Responding to the Terrorism Phenomenon: A Multi-Dimensional Perspective." IOS Press.

Spalek, B. (2012). "Counter-Terrorism: Community-Based Approaches to Preventing Terror Crime." Palgrave Macmillan.

Sullivan, E, "Obama Counterterrorism Plan Relies On Community Outreach," Retrieved July 31, 2014, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/25/obama-counterterrorism_n_3336542.html

NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Science and Technology Policies for the Anti-Terrorism Era.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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APA Format

Community Outreach and Counterterrorism.  (2014, July 31).  Retrieved March 19, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/community-outreach-counterterrorism/9304279

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"Community Outreach and Counterterrorism."  31 July 2014.  Web.  19 March 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/community-outreach-counterterrorism/9304279>.

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"Community Outreach and Counterterrorism."  Essaytown.com.  July 31, 2014.  Accessed March 19, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/community-outreach-counterterrorism/9304279.