View Full Version : Terrorism in Oklahoma

04-23-2008, 10:49 PM
I'm interested in crime and so terrorism is also of interest. I was interested in how much we the public are concerned about terrorism. Aside from running my own survey (no way), the only other way I could figure out what is on the minds of Oklahomans was to study the press. The press has a strong influence on what we think and talk about each day. Thus I figure that the amount that the Oklahoman discussed terrorism shouldn't be too bad an indicator of the degree to which terrorism is on the minds of Oklahomans.

I measured, and plot below, the average frequency with which the word terror (including -ism,-ist, -ize) was mentioned in the Daily Oklahoman newspaper over the last 15 years. The frequency is given in terms of mentions per 50,000 words because a daily copy of the Oklahoman contains approximately that many words. Each bar represents the average frequency across all issues within one month.

You can see upswings in frequency related to some of these terrorist attacks:
4/1995 Oklahoma City bombing
7/1998 Bombing of US embassies
9/2001 Airplanes crash into WTC
5/03 Riyadh compound bombings
7/05 London subway bombing

I also think I see a small upswing just before general elections in November elections for 2002, 2004, and 2006, although this takes a stretch of the imagination.

Any comments? Any suggestions on other words/phrases to search for? Predictions of what one should see?

Oklahoma City Crime - Crime Maps, Reports and Statistics (

04-25-2008, 08:51 AM
Here's one for 'iraq'. Interesting to see terrorism goes down and iraq goes up from 2001-2003.

04-25-2008, 01:55 PM
how about the words, insurgents? bombing? military?

04-25-2008, 03:17 PM
how about the words, insurgents? bombing? military?

Good suggestions. Insurgents was an exceedingly rare term, maybe one a month. Bombing and military were much more frequent.