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Bomb Threats And Bomb Hoaxes In The Philippines: Spatial And Temporal Patterns

1903 words - 8 pages

In the Philippines, bomb threats directed to a building, anything, or any person (even if it is a joke) is a criminal offense. A national law passed in 1980 penalizes “anyone, who by word of mouth or through the use of the mail, telephone, telegraph, printed materials and other instrument or means of communication, willfully makes any threat or maliciously conveys, communicates, transmits, imparts, passes on, or otherwise disseminates false information, knowing the same to be false, concerning an attempt or alleged attempt being made to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual or unlawfully to damage or destroy any building, vehicle, or other real or personal property, by means of explosives, incendiary devices, and other destructive forces of similar nature or characteristics” (Presidential Decree No. 1727). A bomb threat, according to Newman (2011), is a “furtive crime”, a crime which is committed secretly and/or the offender is usually far from the target. This feature makes it easy to perpetrate either with deliberate planning or upon impulse of the moment. This is further aggravated by the current advances in communications that creates impeccable opportunity for offenders to carry out their threats without fear of detection and apprehension. In this study, a bomb threat is defined “as a communication to anyone that states that a bomb or destructive device has been placed or will be placed” (US Department of Justice, 2001:29), or that a building, anyone, or anything is about to be destroyed by means of an explosive. On the other hand, a bomb hoax is a report indicating without malice the presence of a suspected bomb, usually unattended packages such as bags or boxes. Further, it should be noted that in this study, bomb threats and bomb hoaxes are considered to be different, although they have similarities. A bomb threat here is an act of threatening that there is a bomb or the target will be destroyed by means of a bomb; whereas, a bomb hoax is a report coming from any person who have come across an unattended package suspected of being a bomb or containing a bomb and reports the same to authorities for inspection. Although limited, there have been previous empirical studies about bomb threats and their findings are summarized here. On the other hand, however, no study have examined bomb hoaxes.

Past research (i.e., US Department of Justice, 2001; Häkkänen, 2006; Zaitsu, 2010) in US, Finland, and Japan uncovered the offender and offense characteristics of bomb threats. These characteristics are summarized here. In the study of Zaitsu (2010), offenders are classified as instrumental, expressive/affective, and expressive/cognitive. Instrumental offenders are those whose intended end is financial gain through extortion. Expressive/affective are those who are driven by resentment towards the targets; whereas, expressive/cognitive are those driven by the intended end of diversion, mostly targeting railways. Bomb threats are typically...

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