Using Behavioral Analysis to Prevent Violent Extremism: Assessing the Cases of Michael Zehaf–Bibeau and Aaron Driver

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Abstract

The behavioral-analysis method has been an innovative and seemingly effective way to combat violent extremism in recent years. The model used for behavioral analysis as it relates to terrorism is now in practice among services such as the FBI. However, there has been little academic scrutiny of this method, especially with regard to how it could be used to improve wider counterterrorism policies. The behavioral-analysis method was used in this study to analyze 2 recent cases of homegrown, violent extremism in Canada. In so doing, it highlights some of the opportunities and challenges faced by counterterrorism practitioners attempting to use behavioral analysis to detect and deter violent attacks. The case-study assessments were also used to offer suggestions for improving counterterrorism policies in Canada and across the West, moving forward.

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