GMAT® CR Concept Review

Critical Reasoning Practice - Weaken the reasoning

This GMAT practice question is a critical reasoning question. Concept reviewed: Weaken the reasoning presented by the author and present an alternative explanation for the outcome given in the argument.


Terrorist attacks invariably lead to tremendous losses in life, property, and morale of a country. The effects of a terrorist attack are not just immediate and can have long-lasting, trickle-down effects as well. The fear, for example, takes a long time to die down. However, some of these repercussions can be beneficial to the country. Take for instance, the recent terrorist attack on our capital city. In the weeks following the attack, the crime rate in the city came down significantly from what it was just before the attack. This must primarily be due to the increased presence of police resources that were moved to the area and is thus an indirect effect of the attack.

Which of the following options gives one more option as to why the crime rate decreased because of the terrorist attacks?

  1. The capital city is under increased monitoring leading to quick detection of crimes - many times while the crime is still underway.
  2. A number of people are frightened because of the terrorist attacks and have fled the capital city.
  3. There was a recorded decrease in crime rate right after the terrorist attack in almost all cities of the country.
  4. Intel reports show that the terrorists who pulled off the attack had been committing various other smaller crimes regularly to distract law enforcement from their true purposes.
  5. The government had initiated schemes to decrease poverty and provide better livelihood for the people just before the terrorist attack.

Explanatory Answer

Video explanation will be added soon.
  1. Step 1: Analyzing the Argument

    The argument claims that there can be some benefits to terrorist attacks, such as the decrease in crime rates. The author argues that the crime rate was influenced by the recent terrorist attack.

    In order to further add credibility to the author’s argument, the correct option must establish that the terrorist attack had some tie to the crime rate in the city.

  2. Step 2: Eliminating Options

    • Option (A) repeats a fact that is mentioned in the argument – that there is an increase in policing. However, instead of saying that the increase in police forces is dissuading the criminals, the options states that they are getting caught red-handed. This option does not imply that the crime rate has come down – only that the criminals are being increasingly caught.
    • Option (B) extends a remark made in the argument about people feeling fear. However, what does this discussion have to do with the crime rate? The option makes no mention of the impact that the fleeing had on the crime rate.
    • Option (C) states that the crime rate has come down. However, this decrease in crime rate need not have anything to do with the terrorist attacks. The option does nothing to establish this link.
    • There need not necessarily be a link between crime and poverty. Even if that were the case, Option (E) would weaken the argument and not strengthen it. If the government had been taking measures to bring down the crime rate, then the crime rate has not come down because of the terrorist attack.
    • Option (D) implies that the terrorists had been contributing to the crime rate. This implies that, now that they have implemented their plan, they are no longer committing petty crimes to distract the police and that the crime rate has come down. Ultimately, the option strengthens the argument by establishing a link between the crime rate and the terrorist attacks.
Option D is the correct answer.

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