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Stemming the Growth: Exploring the Risk Factors in Group Membership in Domestic Street Gangs and Foreign Terrorist Organizations

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Despite law enforcements best efforts, terrorist groups are expanding at alarming rates. One of the easiest ways to prevent terrorist attacks is to prevent individuals from joining terrorist organizations. Counter-terrorism programs that effectively reduce membership, reduce association and increase desistance to terror groups will undoubtedly reduce terror incidents. This research identifies risk factors that greatly influence an individuals decision to join a terrorist group policy makers can use this information to design new policies aimed at prevention and intervention. If the U.S. government is looking for community-oriented solutions to criminal groups, it need look no further than the study of domestic street gangs. There is vast research into theories, strategies and programs that policy makers can reference. Because these models already exist for street gangs, the government need not waste time developing new strategies from scratch. This research discovered the group dynamic and processes that exist for street gangs exits similarly for terrorist organizations. It is the hope that this research lends new direction to the developing policies and de-radicalization strategies that are currently underway.

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