Terrorism has been a significant issue in our society, raising deep fears about the protection of our societies. Despite significant efforts by security departments to combat extremism and instill calm in the city, terrorist acts have succeeded in undermining the community’s well-being, disrupting social roles in the community, and instilling distrust among citizens of the population. Citizens all over the world face confusion, anxiety, and the threat of terrorism on a daily basis, rendering terrorism a local as well as a global problem. Terrorism existed even before the twenty-first century. however, in the last twenty years, terrorism has risen dramatically as well as its effects on people and nations. This paper is going to examine the effects of terrorism on safety, cohesion, and community regulation in the community in details.
Effects of terrorism on Community Safety
In the 21st century, terrorism takes various forms ranging from suicide bombers, use of aircraft to bomb, random shooting and setting explosives in public places such as parks and public bus among others. Terrorism occurs without warning hence can erode the sense of safety and security in a community very quickly (Nacos, 2016). Due to its sudden occurrence, people are not able to take any physical or psychological action to protect themselves. In addition, a person has no control over the situation hence cannot prepare for the terror attack which leaves the people vulnerable and afraid knowing the terror attack could occur again at any time. Mostly the attacks affect more than just the actual people injured or killed in the assault. For instance, the 1995 attack in Oklahoma City which left more than 168 people dead and 800 injured also left, thousands without employment, children, were orphaned and thousands traumatized by the incidence from what they saw from the media coverage (Byman, 2016). Such an incident makes the community as a whole to feel unsafe since they do not know where the terrorists will attack next and who will be the next victim.
Incidences such as kidnapping, murder, torture, arson, extortion and mutilation create an atmosphere of fear, suspicion, panic all over, and lead to an uncertainty of life. People now carry around their daily activities with fear due to modern terrorism that has taken the form of suicide bombers, use of explosives and holding of innocent citizens as hostages. In most countries where they have experienced terrorism, attacks from militia groups like the ISIS, the safety of the people have been affected significantly (Weiss & Hassan, 2016). Everyone is always on the lookout for any signals of terror threat fearing for their lives. In the recent years, even an invitation to a family celebration has to be considered with great care for fear of being injured or killed while at the party or on your way there.
In a country like Kenya where there was terrorism attack on one of the country’s major malls, as people shop around, they go looking for any suspicious objects such as polyethylene papers left on the sidewalk. When in the buses, people are always worried about their safety and look around for any luggage left fearing they might be explosives left deliberately by the terrorists (Coaffee, 2016). Similarly in the United States after the 9/11 attack, every aspect of community safety was affected. People stopped going to street markets where the prices are low, any strange car parked outside a building raises the alarm, and even the sound of a passing plane scares those affected by various terrorist attacks.
The terrorist attacks have also led to a change in approach to security measures, and more budget has been allocated to security. In most businesses, perimeter walls have been put around the building to prevent unauthorized people from accessing the premises. Besides, security checks have been heightened to ensure no explosives get to the buildings. Similarly, in supermarkets and shopping malls, the number of security guards has increased, everybody who gets in has to go through a body search, and anything they are carrying has to be checked to ascertain they are not carrying anything harmful. Also, the government of various nations has also taken measures to curb terrorism (Mueller & Stewart, 2015). For instance, most countries have increased the number of security personnel, secured the borders using soldiers and building walls, heightened their intelligence departments, and increased communication with locals among others.
Effects of terrorism on community cohesion
Terrorism brings about social disintegration and causes law and order problems. Further, the actions related to terrorism such as violence and organized crimes results to social disharmony among members of the community. Since most terrorist activities are related to Muslims and Muslim states, there has been a negative attitude towards the Muslim religion and the rest are reluctant to interact freely with the Muslims (Nelson, Wooditch, Martin, Hummer, & Gabbidon, 2016). This is despite the fact that only a handful of extremists are involved in the attacks that create friction and cause insecurities thus undermining the cohesion of the community. Further, the Muslims have also started to be cold towards the non-Muslims and acted suspiciously toward them, which is all attributed to terrorism.
Terrorism has led to mistrust and hatred among people in the community. In addition, communities such as Arabs who are stereotyped, as the masterminds of terrorism are more sensitive and feel as though they are being targeted hence have less trust for people in the community in which they live. In most cases, as police search for terror suspects, they use coercive powers, which always result in adverse effects on community cohesion. Similarly, high-profile raids on suspects have negative effects on the relationship of people in the community since most feel their neighbors or their perceived enemies must have betrayed them (Welch, 2016). In the United Kingdom, they extensively use ‘stop and search’ powers on the youths, which are aimed at preventing terrorism but have negatively affected the community cohesion in the community. This is because the youths feel they are being targeted unnecessarily and the police are using excessive force.
After the September 9/ 11 attack in the United States, police were given more powers to gather information from people which included the use of community intelligence to counter terrorism which had some negative effects on the cohesion of the community. In some instances, the information gathered is inaccurate consequently innocent people end up suffering. This has resulted to suspicion and hatred among people in the community. After the attack, it was also reported that a number of hate crimes towards Muslim Americans increased by more than 1000% (Saul, 2015). There was also increased religious and racial animosity towards, Muslims, Arabs, and people from the Middle East, and anyone who had a physical appearance resembling those groups. These trends have also been observed in other countries where terrorist attacks have taken place all over the world.
Effects of terrorism on community regulation
Terrorism has resulted in changes in the regulation in the community. The law has been made more strict when dealing with terrorists to preventing further attacks. For instance, facial recognition devices have been introduced in various areas in the community including the airports to assist identification and tracking of terrorists (Kaur & Sharda, 2014). Further, the police departments in most countries have been given more powers as is the case with the United Kingdom and the United States (Lennon & Walker, 2015). The access to some areas by the public has also been prohibited such as the government building and other sensitive areas where terrorism spies could target. Further, some leaders in the society have been elected to oversee the general welfare of the society and to identify any terrorists within the community (Condell, Chaurasia, Connolly, Yogarajah, Prasad & Monaghan, 2017).
In most continents such as Africa, Asia, and Europe where major terrorist attacks have occurred, new measures have been taken to strengthen the existing laws (Baron, 2014). Besides, certain regulations have changed which aim at preventing the terrorist from accessing preparatory terrorism actions, attending camps, raising funds, conducting attacks and inciting others to carry out terrorism attacks (Aly, Balbi, & Jacques, 2015). For instance, in most countries, the government has frozen the accounts of people who are thought to be funding terrorists as well as arresting people who provide the terrorists with other resources that they require to do harm (Martin, 2016). In addition, some groups such as al-Shabaab, al-Qaida and Taliban and individuals affiliated with these groups have been designated as sanctioned and their funding criminalized (Combs, 2015). For instance, in the United States, the “material support” act was adopted which aims to stop terrorism-related activities and applies to both citizens and noncitizens. The act imposes a jail term of 15 years to people found to be linked or helping the terrorists in any way including funding their activities (Young & Stebbins, 2016). Similarly, in most communities, counter-terrorism laws have been established which condemn terrorism and impose hefty fines on people found to be engaging in terrorism acts.
Terrorism has also served as a threat to many countries, and the influence of ISIS states has become widespread to the extent of necessitating more laws to be enacted to elevate the security levels (Saul, 2015). In most countries, the security agencies have been allocated more financial resources as well as other resources than the rest of the departments. In addition, the law enforcement agencies have become more mutually dependent than they were in the earlier days. For instance, in the United States recently, there has been more participation of the state law enforcement in the federal task forces, more interactions with the federal agencies are also being experienced, and state law is being involved with immigration-related issues more (Crawford, T. A. M. & Evans, 2016). Also, the law enforcers have been interacting more with the private sector regarding the security of the community (Martin, 2016).
Terrorism has also resulted in changing in government perspective about the role of citizens in formulation and implementation of laws (Schmid, 2015). Nowadays, the legislation and policies relating to terrorism are influenced by the opinion of the public and views of people in the society (Von Behr, Reding, Edwards & Gribbon, 2013). The government can now ask for suggestions about terrorism and terrorist related activities. However, the laws and actions suggested by the public are subject to scrutiny and approval of the law enforcing bodies except at the local level where laws can apply freely as suggested by members of the community (Combs, 2015). Further, these laws have been made more strict and harsh to anybody found to be engaging in terrorist activities.
Terrorism has also pushed the authorities to give orders to the people with businesses requiring them to install CCTV cameras in their businesses to track any suspects of terrorism (Davis, McGarrity & Williams, 2014). Further, the government has also installed the cameras in public places such as parks, airport, and bus terminals among others and ordered the arrest of any suspects of terrorism. The local authorities are also required to be more vigilant and identify the terrorists amongst the people in the community at the local level (Kaur & Sharda, 2014). Despite all these efforts, terrorism does not seem to go away in the near future which makes a person question the power and capabilities of ISIS and other terrorism-related groups and individuals.
Terrorism has taken the world by an overwhelming force in the current century. Many countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom have experienced the terrorist attacks and felt magnitude of the damages caused by the attacks both visible and invisible. Most areas where the attacks have had effects are on the community safety, community cohesion and regulation. Terrorism has caused people to view the world as unsafe and unpredictable and make them constantly worry about their lives. This has caused heightening of the security by the government and change in life patterns of people such as shopping and traveling. Further, people have developed mistrust, hatred, and suspension amongst themselves, which has led to the loss of cohesion in the community. The laws and regulations have also been changed due to the occurrence of terrorism. In most countries, new legislation criminalizing, preventing funding and supporting of terrorism have been implemented. Additionally, the community has adjusted its laws to help identify and capture terrorist before they conduct any attacks. All these are the proof of the devastating effects of terrorism in the community.
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