Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Giblin, Matthew


Contingency theory, with regard to risk of homeland security incidents and homeland security preparedness, has received considerable empirical support. In past research, risk has been measured subjectively as agency executives' perceived risk of specific homeland security incidents occurring within their jurisdictions. This study examines actual risk, using the objective risk factors of experience with past natural hazards, social vulnerability, and urbanization. These risk factors, used in combination, have been significantly associated with terrorism-related homeland security incidents in the United States, and are used in risk assessment models of natural hazards. Contrary to expectations, the results of this study indicate that objective risk factors were not associated with either perceived risk or preparedness. Policy implications and directions for future research are discussed.




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