Islamist Terrorists in Germany and Their Warning Behaviors: A Comparative Assessment of Attackers and Other Convicts Using the TRAP-18





Zentraler Phänomenbezug

Böckler, Nils; Allwinn, Mirko; Metwaly, Carim; Wypych, Beatrice; Hoffmann, Jens; Zick, Andreas;

1. Januar 2020
12. Januar 2021

Außenuniversitär (Forschungsgemeinschaft)
Übergreifend: Radikalisierung – Extremismus und/oder Terrorismus
Religiöse Ideologie

Zentrale Fragestellung:

The Terrorist Radicalization Protocol 18 (TRAP-18) is tested on a sample of 80 peoplewho were convicted for Islamist activities in Germany between 2006 and 2017. In thestudy, perpetrators of terrorist attacks will be compared to persons who have beenconvicted of propagandistic and financial terrorist support and of joining a terroristorganization abroad.

Stichprobenbildung – Datenzugang:
In the following section, the TRAP-18 is vali-dated on a German sample of perpetrators whowere convicted for Islamist activities between2006 and 2016. The relevant cases were identifiedby reviewing all press releases issued by theFederal Attorney General during this period oftime. We identified 138 relevant individuals, inrespect of which we subsequently requested accessto the files.2 For cases in which the ruling was notyet final, no access to the files could be obtained.This was particularly applicable to some cases ofterrorist violence (n = 4) that took place in 2016.For these cases, a detailed case description wascreated on the basis of intensive media research/official reports. As media coverage was expectedto be susceptible to false reports, information wasonly used if it was published in at least twoindependent trustworthy sources

Inhaltlicher / Thematischer / Empirischer Zentralfokus

n = 80
Deskriptivanalyse, Bivariante Verfahren, Multivariante Verfahren, Fallanalyse


Zentrale Forschungsbefunde:

Statistical analysis of the results shows that there are significantdifferences between terrorist perpetrators and persons convicted of nonviolent Islamistactivities, both in the number of TRAP-18 items and in the proximal warning behaviors“pathway,” “last resort,” “energy burst,” and “novel aggression.” Subsequent ROCanalyses underline both the specificity and sensitivity of the instrument. AUC valuesrange from .83 to .90 for the four different models (TRAP-18 and the warning behaviortypology as weighted and unweighted models). The highest discrimination betweenIslamist attackers and the non-attackers is achieved by the weighted warning behaviortypology. The values for sensitivity (se = .80), specificity (sp = .93), positive predictivevalue (p+ = .80), and negative predictive value (p− = .93) are extremely promising

Implikationen oder praktische Verwendbarkeiten:

The study deals with the question of whether TRAP-18 is capable of distinguishing persons who have committed an Islamist act of violence from those who have taken onmore supportive, nonviolent roles in the scene. The results show that this is the case. Specific behavioral patterns can be identified that are overly coincidentally common in violent terrorists. Likewise, terrorists show more warning behavior than those whohave not committed a violent crime. Against this empirical background, TRAP-18 has proven to be an instrument with a high potential for successful early detection ofIslamist-terrorist violence.

Hinweise / Anregungen zu möglicher Anschlussforschung:


Zitation des Projekts

  • Böckler, N., Allwinn, M., Metwaly, C., Wypych, B., Hoffmann, J., & Zick, A. (2020).
    Islamist terrorists in Germany and their warning behaviors: A comparative assessment of attackers and other convicts using the TRAP-18. Journal of Threat Assessment and Management, 7(3-4), 157–172.

Quellenangabe projektbezogener Publikation