Terrorist Decision Making Regarding Security and Risk

This project will start to build a better understanding of how terrorists make judgements about risk and security, and how this informs their actions (e.g., operational security measures, targeting decisions, hostile reconnaissance). As this is a relatively new area of academic inquiry, the team will start with the criminological literature to develop hypotheses, which will then be tested against two data sets.

Research questions

  • How do criminals manage their own security, and how do they make risk judgements about the actions they wish to take?
  • How are terrorists the same or different in their decision-making about risk and security?

Principal investigator

Dr Paul Gill


University College London, UK




How do criminals make decisions?

How do criminals manage their own security and how do they make risk judgements surrounding the commissioning of a crime? Law enforcement agencies and...Read More »

How do terrorists make decisions?

This guide focuses on the insights criminology can provide into terrorist decision-making. It looks at what terrorists do and how they do it. How...Read More »

Terrorist Decision Making in the Context of Risk, Attack Planning, and Attack Commission

Terrorists from a wide array of ideological influences and organizational structures consider security and risk on a continuous and rational basis. The rationality of...Read More »

8 things you need to know about terrorist decision making

Paul Gill gives a breakdown on eight things terrorists consider when making a planning an attack, from an analyse of over 80 terrorist autobiographies...Read More »