Effects of Terrorism


The criminal justice system is a country’s social control since some behaviors are known to be harmful to the rest of the population of a country. These dangerous behaviors are monitored, controlled and prohibited by this justice system for the sake of public good. It is the routine of the criminal justice system to deter this unwanted behavior by imposing sanctions, apprehending and adjudicating those who break or go against the law.

Criminal justice refers to a process that involves a number of steps commencing with the criminal investigation and ending with the release of the offender. It is characterized by rules and decisions that are made. The sources of rules in this incase include the US and state constitution, US state code, federal and state rules of criminal procedure, and court decisions. Decision-making process entails not only learning the rules and o applying them to specific cases but, are based on personal exercise no judgment and the capacity to make choices on the alternative courses of action. The criminal justice system is vital since the federal agencies use it to solve crimes and abolish terrorism activities.

Terrorism is a world wide problem that needs the government or the security agencies to be vigilant al the time so as to curb it. Terrorism has been part and parcel of the Middle East countries because of their religious believes for many centuries. Whether, the phenomena strikes Africa, Europe or Asia, its impacts cannot be underestimated. This is due to the fact that there are heavy loss of lives and huge economic losses associated with terrorism. This is cited by 9/11 bombing in the US where more than 3000 people lost their lives and many offices were destroyed. The cost of all these was over $27 billion, this shows that the cost of fighting terrorism and law enforcement in the US is immeasurable and have affected the livelihoods of the citizens both indirectly and directly. (Trevor, 2010)

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During the 9/11 terrorism, the US government allocated more than $4.8 billion to ensure that the aviation sector is well protected and guarded. Then, after three years the federal governments spend another 500 billion fighting terrorism in the Middle East countries such as the Afghanistan and Iraq. This highlights that the US government spends a lot because the productive labor is diverted to terrorism prevention units established.

Different effects of terrorism

Changes in the federal criminal justice system were evidenced after the worst attack in 2006. This led the creation of a new department within the security agency to enhance public safety and security. There was also a paradigm shift of priorities in the FBI unit so that future attacks could be prevented since massive operations were launched. The changes in these law enforcement agencies posed questions like; how will the normal crime be dealt with?

For instance, the FBI used to undertake more activities that were geared towards curbing financial crimes, robberies, drug trafficking and organized crimes. It is then by default that a citizen would make an assumption that the law enforcement agencies would be more concerned with these traditional crimes in as much as dealing with terrorism activities. The underlying reason behind this is that many grant programs in many of these parts had been withdrawn since September attacks, including other grants like the Edward Byrne Memorial state and grants to local low enforcement units.

In addition, a number of law officers especially the police officers in Iraq and Afghanistan meaning a larger portion of the productive labor have been diverted to the prevention of terrorism. In conjunction, states experienced friction in grants due local planning and distribution inefficiencies. There was the delay in the funds to be allocated to each security unit, lack of transparency in allocation accompanied by poor state planning and governance. This is evidenced in the procurement of homeland security machinery and equipment which remained a concern among many US citizens. With regard to purchasing equipment, many local agencies teamed up so as to increase their purchase power and to obtain the same equipments at the cheaper price. (David, 2007)

Terrorism has helped the federal criminal system to build a relationship with the Arab-American society

The US national Institute of justice funded studies that aimed at establishing this relationship and also to examine the impacts of the 9/11 bombing on the law enforcement agencies. It also included the states where high number of citizen of Arabs origin was mostly found since these are the places harboring the criminals.

The studies revealed that the Arab-American were highly suspicious because of the increased media coverage and government policies that targeted terrorist. The studies showed that the Arabs were fearful of the federal efforts to curb terrorism. They also had a fair quantity of goodwill towards the law enforcers and the agencies. Their perceptions about the law enforcement officer were negative since they deemed to be always suspected of crimes committed.

In combating terrorism, the federal government embraced community policing approach. This approach is fragmented to easy enforcement activities also; it is decentralized due to number of conditions. In the past, policing had been dominating since it entails the communities in the problem-solving process. The incorporation of the local community was to aid in the enhancement of security and public safety. Since 1990s, this philosophy had been the US prevailing security model. Community policing were facilitated by foot patrols, liaising the ethnic communities and establishing police substations in the neighborhoods where crime rates are high. This approach increased face to face interaction among the police and the community members hence the establishment of relationship between the ethnic groups and the law enforcement officers.

Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, community policing practitioners and scholars encouraged agencies to leverage their efforts and position so as to involve themselves in the immigration enforcement and gathering of intelligence information. This is exemplified by the fact that the local officers in some jurisdictions embraced intelligence gathering and tight security surveillance. The combination of this with the federal bureau of investigation shift toward curbing terrorism activities and the increased terrorism task force have posed changes in the law enforcement landscape.

The relationship that exist between the Arab-American communities with the law enforcement agencies is not as such good since the immigrants are distrustful due to their experience back at their home countries, cultural difference existing and their different languages. These elements of the immigrants are known to be components of terrorism since people of the same origin could plan attacks against their enemy to satisfy their desires. Thus, given the distrustful nature of the immigrant communities, heightened public scrutiny and the effects of particular federal policies that pertain to law enforcement activities, examining the recent state of relationship between the federal law enforcement agencies and the immigrants in the US is quite essential and vital in fighting terrorism. (James, 2002)

After the 9/11 bombing, there was confusion among the local police regarding their duties and responsibilities. This is due to the fact that law enforcement fell along a wider spectrum that needed to be revisited since it was not expected. Others also, left the law enforcement tasks to the capacity of individual officials due to limited resources in the agencies. On other hand, the FBI and the immigrant enforcement laws were emphasized so that terrorism could be curbed in an appropriate manner. A survey that was done revealed that police officers were not in a position to do so because it was beyond their mandate as required by the law.

Terrorism show a greater allocation of resources to the enforcement agencies as evidenced in the year 2001-2003

The FBI investigations on terror activities went up by 183% while investigations on drug abuse and trafficking went down by 60%. This included other traditional crimes like organized crimes. Unlike the normal police officers who showed a little change in their daily routines, the FBI officials felt a greater shift in their work. That is from traditional crimes to counterterrorism activities.

Resources were allocated for protecting important infrastructure, dignitaries, special events, intelligence gathering, analysis, assessment and sharing of terror-related investigations with other countries. The state police reported that after the September attack, more resources were channeled toward port and border protection, commercial vehicle inspection, high technology crime investigations and patrols aimed at preventing terrorism activities. On the other hand, various local law agencies reported that more resources were directed towards airport security, traffic safety, traditional criminal investigation and community policing and patrol.

Building of relationships with the local communities aided the FBI gather more intelligence information. These were seen as valuable source of information since potential threats are discovered early enough and the necessary measures are taken. The relationship established in turn, has led to greater collaboration between the local police and the FBI officials. This therefore, enabled the officials to come up with interagency initiatives that would aid in fighting terrorism. Working groups were also initiated to facilitate the detection of terrorism activities. It also entailed activities such as jointly sponsored security meetings and community working groups.

Terrorism has also led to further training of law enforcement officers and the FBI officials. These officials’ training involved topics such as terrorism awareness, intelligence gathering methods and their efficiency, crimes and cultural awareness which is the main breeding element that drives terrorist do the way they believe so.

Terrorism has made the federal agencies too closely in a demanding ways since more than 75% of the agencies reported that their personnel were assigned federal duties which included the immigrant investigations and the law enforcement activities. The interacting agencies includes the federal emergency management administration, secret services, coast guard, US customs, US military, federal aviation administration and centre for disease control and prevention.

In the US, various states have pursued intelligence centers due terrorism and its related activities. The underlying reason behind this is that fusion centers are integral part in a nations’ attempt to prevent terrorism activities. Thus, the centralization of these centers of intelligence sharing and analysis, through one point or a network of facilities, gives room for gathering and analyzing a lot of terror information more accurately, efficiently and effectively.

The main aim of establishing new fusion centre is to enhance the collection of data, analysis and dissemination of terror-related information. This is for the purpose of terror and crime prevention. These fusion centers are normally characterized by intelligence analysts, presences of federal officials and computerized systems. The presences of all these features aim at curbing terrorism at an early stage.

An example of a fusion centre in the US is the Arizona Counterterrorism information centre which was established after 9/11 attack. Its main role is to provide tactical intelligence support to the law enforcement officers in the state. It also maintains and disseminates information about threats and gives room for statewide trainings on intelligence matters. Another fusion centre is in New York whose main roles are to collect terror data, analyze it and disseminate intelligence information across the fifty four counties in Newyork since it gives timely and accurate criminal records to various government agencies.

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Terrorism has exerted pressure on intelligence analysts and tool used in detecting crimes or terrorism

The law enforcement agencies are faced with increasing demands on intelligence professionals and the analytical tools used in data mining and translation. The raising demand is due to new terrorism-related activities, growing demand for the same services and shrinking economies.

According to a survey conducted in fifty states of US, 92% of the law enforcement agencies have allocated resources in gathering, analysis and sharing of intelligence information. Thus, faced with a number of constraints and they are looking for better way of collecting data, patterns and points of interest so that they can transform the data into useful information for the decision makers and the field officers. The effect of terrorism, in conjunction to this, it means that the states are seeking technological assets and human capital. In the US, therefore, states are struggling to deal with various concerns that surround them. For example, the standards of analytical process and product which are few, little guidance given to the local federal agencies and states, and the fact that they find themselves in a very stiff competition with other federal agencies. (Rack, 2007)

Terrorism has impacted on the criminal justice system since the police are trying to incorporate terrorism related activities into the existing ones or priorities. Thus, the need to employ a better specialized approach so that risks associated with the existing one are evaded. Experts in the US believe that terrorist could be involved in precursor criminal activities that could lead to terrorist acts. The adoption of new strategy would ensure that the precursor crimes are screened early enough and analyzed to show if they are linked to large terrorist activities. This could in turn help the law enforcing agencies to the take the remedial measures prior to the attacks and give warnings of the same.

Can low level crime indicators prevent terrorism

Experts also believe that these terrorists behave like escapees when put into pressure by the law enforcers. In the criminal justice system, there is evidence of little research pertaining low level crimes related to terrorism related activities thus, evidence is needed so as to show the types of crimes that are less prone to providing support to terrorism. Otherwise, the law enforcement agencies and the federal security agencies and investigators would scan extensively the conditions that are associated with low level crimes, waste their own time and resources. These call for more concrete evidence that would aid law enforcement agencies on those crimes that are likely to support terrorism activities. (Frank, 1997)

Secondly, these low level crimes indicators should be depicted in many diverse places using the criminal justice system. Thus, the states are trying to create and implement protocols towards criminal justice and law enforcement agencies or regulatory officials, systems used in pinpointing and reporting the precursor crimes and the sufficient resources that are required to undertake investigations and detections. Thirdly, states in the US are struggling to attain a balance between the existing labourforce and the emerging terrorism activities bearing in mind the existing concerns or priorities of the federal criminal justice system. This, therefore, means that more personnel have to recruited, trained and educated on issues relating to counter terrorism.

Cooperation among different federal agencies and the private sector is essential in trying to curb future terrorism. Since the beginning of 2000, law enforcement agencies have enjoyed high levels of cooperation. For instance, the FBI agency has built a key partnership with other and thus has fostered the sharing of information. This shows that many issues exist in many states and need to be addressed. To the several issues the work group proposed the following actions: development of standards for classifying information and clearing security system, development of standards to guide national training and education on intelligence issues, implementation of the new generation of joint regional information exchange system as the prime source of information.

In addition, the group also recommends that a national intelligence strategy be developed so as to incorporate the state and the local assets, provision of adequate law enforcement staff so as to handle expanded homeland security issues. They also highlighted the need to restore support for the local and nation’s criminal justice programs and l enforcement units. This could be facilitated by the development of an accredited program meant for prevention of terrorism. It could also be enhanced by increasing the flexibility of states concerning the planning and administration of grants. (Elaine, 2011)

On the other hand, creation of zones would help reduce boundary barriers aimed at operational purposes and may facilitate homeland security. This could be its planning and distribution of the federal fund cross states. Regions in the United States could consist of municipalities and counties that follow the existing law enforcement and health law. Regionalization could help in curbing terrorism since local communities can be identified according to their security needs, state roles and resources can be identified depending on zonal needs. It could also help in fostering inter and intra-state agreements, assistance as well as compact and promote maximization of cost among states, capitalizing on economies of scale and promoting intelligence and information sharing.

Thus, states have pursued regionalization as a means of counteracting terrorism due to its elements and unique characteristics and needs. For instance, states are employing zones for homeland security planning and operations in disseminating information. Most of the states are bringing regions together that have earlier on existed based on public health laws, fire and police sectors and emergency management for planning and coordination to be made easier and administrative costs to be minimized. In addition, many states have implemented these regional structures through two approaches namely; bottom -up and top-down using diverse mandates, disincentives and incentives to combat and prevent future terrorism.

How regionalization was used against terrorism

Implementation of regional structure have take root in Florida where there is a domestic task force. This was initiated after the September attacks. It was done by Gov. Jeb Bush who created a regional domestic security task force in each law enforcement department in the seven regions of Florida. These were chaired by a local police chief or by sheriff or the director of FDLE. It comprises of fire chiefs, police chiefs, medical officers, private industry officials and the federal and state officers. The regional structure serves the purposes of planning, prevention and response to terrorism. In Washington, the regional structure aids in the distribution of grants, emergency response, planning and execution of training exercises, developing volunteer structure to aid the citizen’s involvement in security issues and initiatives although, physical resources, and actions are monitored, and kept at the local level. The Washington regional structure operates in nine districts. (Nicole, 2006)

Due to the 9/11 attacks, states amended their laws to explicitly link crimes that had been committed earlier to terrorism. As a result of these changes in law, the role of the prosecutor in the fight against terrorism is to investigate, enforce and prosecute precursor crimes. Most of the prosecutors studied by APRI have made efforts to employ the new amended anti terrorism laws so as to connect low level crimes to terrorism. The strategies that have been adopted by many prosecutors focus on disrupting terrorism through criminal prosecution of various offences for example money laundering and theft that are prohibited by the state.

Prosecutors have used state laws to build intelligence for the federal prosecutorial and investigative efforts. Of the jurisdictions that prosecution of terrorism activities have been reported, 60 % have been of precursor crimes and 40% had been prosecuted since September attack. Prosecutors who work for home land security reported an increased crime rates which included computer crimes which were 14%, identity theft 36%, security offenses 10% and counterfeit driving license which were 23 %.

Patterns that have emerged from the enforcement and investigation efforts of the prosecutor show that there might be a scale of power in the prosecutor’s involvement in investigation, enforcement and prosecution of the above criminal offences. This means that some prosecution agencies have adopted a supportive role while others have taken a dual role. It may also mean that others have implemented the role without informing others. This mode of operation has coincided with prosecutors’ perception about the targeted groups of their area of jurisdiction. Those offices that decide to choose a supportive role usually perceive their jurisdiction to have a low number of targets while those who chose take the action role believe that there are medium targets and those who chose an active role see their jurisdiction as a richer target with many target than the others (Impacts of Terrorism on State Law Enforcement, 2006).

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With regard to the supportive role, Bucks County, Pennsylvania District Attorney’s officers ensured that there are adequate mechanisms that could assist them in supporting the investigation, prosecution and enforcement of low level crimes and terrorism related activities, particularly when it comes to involvement in the enforcement and investigative roles. In this county investigators have been designated as marshals so as to provide support in enforcement and investigation. Prosecutors who have attended the attorney general monthly tasks force meeting and consultation on terrorism have not been called to handle precursor crimes.

The District Attorney’s Office assigned three investigators to assist the FBI with their watch list

Those who took the action role include the Franklin County prosecuting attorney who uses its gang, providing support and responds to terrorism. The units were selected so that members could be trained on intensive intelligence gathering and thorough investigations pertaining criminals. The prosecutors therefore, believed that this could boost the efforts of the federal law enforcement agencies yet in other cases may not be helpful. The gang unit’s screens its own crimes while the prosecutors may be instructed on how to review cases for the information provided may pinpoint that the offenses are low level crimes associated with terrorism attacks.

There are two examples that show how the county played support and action role. First, the county involved itself with the US Attorneys office in carrying out the investigation and arrest of a trucker who had threatened to bomb the Brooklyn Bridge in New York. Secondly, in the prosecution of a local citizen who had threatened to attack a shopping mall. The prosecutor identified that there was an emerging trends in robbery which could be related to terrorism. This was heightened by the fact that there was increased number of burglaries and theft of telescopes and vision binoculars used during nights. This information was forwarded to the US attorney so as to be used in investigating terrorists’ activities.

The Monmouth County in New Jersey had employed a different approach to support its dual action role. This was achieved when the prosecutor’s office determined that its prime contribution in law enforcement and investigation was to assist as a conduit of relevant information between diverse agencies. The county developed municipal counter terrorism where facilitators could coordinator activities that would emanate from residents and the law enforcement agencies in the municipalities. The information would then be passed to county’s terrorism coordinator for reviewing, making of follow ups and sending it to the state and federal task force for further review. (Siegel, 2011)

The leads returned may be further investigated by the police force of the county prosecutor. In addition, the information is entered into a nationwide database that could be cross-referenced against other information from other sources. These databases could contain terrorism information, gang’s information and organized crimes that have been committed. Much of this focus is on precursor crimes for instance, theft and fraudulent document. This enables the county prosecutor to identify patterns, provide information to the federal state forces and gather intelligence.

Regionalization concept in New York Area

The prosecutorial aspect and investigation of the queen’s county, New York district attorney’s responses to criminal activities was intensively on precursor crimes and identifying theft. After the 9/11 attacks, the governor of New York Created FIDTF, a body that aimed at the illegal manufacturing and distribution of forged documents such as licenses and passports. This show the attorneys office participate in FIDTF activities of which, the first focused on motor vehicle department and the other on taxi and limousine commission. Due to these operations, 450 cases were screened, 420 arrests were made and 2000 documents were seized. It also entailed confiscated equipments that were used in making these fraudulent documents during the first four months of investigation. The district attorney also worked in changing policies regarding the out state drivers’ licenses. This required that more rigorous review of identification documents so that proper information could be depicted.

On the other hand, the TLC operations got 500 arrests of citizens that are suspected of low level crimes. The office also involved itself in checking personnel security badges in airports and the airport task force carried out checks on its more than 40,000 employees. In this check more than 127 people had used the falsified documents to secure their badges. This led to filing of 97 cases of criminal activities and using a newly amended law that made allowed for the false instrumentation and pinpointing of a class E felony, that carried a penalty of mort ha three years, the attorney prosecuted 35 cases without any problem. In addition to this, the immigration violated cases were filed since the efforts were directed towards the precursor crimes which are part and parcel of the prosecutors work. (Mathew, 2010)


In conclusion, the terrorism has impacted both positively and negatively on the federal criminal justice system. Terrorism has led to amendment of laws pertaining to low level crimes since these could be linked to terrorism. On the other hand, terrorism has led to allocation of more resources towards curbing it. The resources that have been diverted to combating terrorism include the human resources, equipments and technology. This has necessitated legislative changes to ensure that future terrorism activities are detected and can be counteracted as early as possible.

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