Risk Factors for Violent Dissident Republican Incidents in Belfast: A Comparison of Bombings and Bomb Hoaxes

Zoe Marchment, Paul Gill, John F. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review



To identify risk factors for bombings and bomb hoaxes committed by dissident Republicans in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


Risk terrain modelling (RTM) was applied to each type of incident to identify significant risk layers.


Previous protests and riots [relative risk value (RRV) of 14.07; spatial influence (SI) of 100 m], punishment attacks (RRV 6.56; SI 300 m) and areas dense with pubs and bars (RRV 4.98; SI 200 m) were identified as risk factors for bombings. Punishment attacks (RRV 10.77; SI 100 m), police stations (RRV 8.76; SI of 200 m) and places dense with shops (RRV 6.94; SI 400 m) were identified as risk factors for bomb hoaxes. Descriptive statistics regarding predictive accuracy concluded that half of incidents for both types occurred in high or very high risk cells in a 3-year post-study period.


RTM could be a useful tool in guiding targeted responses to the dissident Republican threat in Belfast. The results suggest that there is some assessment of risk by the offenders, and that they are selecting targets rationally. Due to the differences in risk factors for the two types of events it can be proposed that there may be differences between targets relevant to ideology and realistic targets with increased chance of success.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Quantitative Criminology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 17 Apr 2019


  • Terrorism
  • Risk Terrain Modelling
  • Environmental Criminology
  • Northern Ireland

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