INTERPOL's Surveillance Network in Curbing Transnational Terrorism

Publication Type: 
Javier Gardeazabal
Todd Sandler
This paper investigates the role that International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) surveillance—the Mobile INTERPOL Network Database (MIND) and the Fixed INTERPOL Network Database (FIND—played in the War on Terror since its inception in 2005. MIND/FIND surveillance allows countries to screen people and documents systematically at border crossings against INTERPOL databases on terrorists, fugitives, and stolen and lost travel documents. Such documents have been used in the past by terrorists to transit borders. By applying methods developed in the treatment-effects literature, this paper establishes that countries adopting MIND/FIND experienced fewer transnational terrorist attacks than they would have had they not adopted MIND/FIND. Our estimates indicate that, on average, from 2008 to 2011, adopting and using MIND/FIND results in 0.5 fewer transnational terrorist incidents each year per 100 million people. Thus, a country like France with a population just above 64 million people in 2008 would have 0.32 fewer transnational terrorist incidents per year owing to its use of INTERPOL surveillance. This amounts to a sizeable average proportional reduction of about 30 percent. C 2015 The Authors. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Association for Public Policy and Management..