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State Department contracts START to provide terrorism data and analysis


State Department contracts START to provide terrorism data and analysis

START to produce statistical annex for Country Reports on Terrorism

November 16, 2012

The U.S. Department of State has contracted the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) to produce the statistical annex for the congressionally mandated report, "Country Reports on Terrorism 2012." Headquartered at the University of Maryland, START will systematically collect, catalogue and report statistical information on terrorist incidents occurring in 2012, including the number of terrorist attacks worldwide and the number of individuals killed, injured and/or kidnapped in terrorist attacks.

START will also provide an analysis of overarching trends in international and domestic terrorism data, which could include incident location, weapon utilization, tactic and target choice, perpetrators, casualties and consequences. START's compilation of the statistical annex complements the existing data collection efforts undertaken for its Global Terrorism Database (GTD), the world's largest, most comprehensive unclassified database of terrorist incidents.

Currently sponsored by the Science and Technology Directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the GTD contains information on more than 104,000 domestic and international terrorist attacks between 1970 and 2011 that resulted in more than 225,000 deaths and more than 299,000 injuries. These attacks are defined as the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious or social goal through fear, coercion or intimidation.

"Collecting accurate, objective baseline data is absolutely essential to understanding terrorism and developing effective methods for countering terrorism," said Gary LaFree, director of START and professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Maryland.

"Over the past several years, START's GTD team has developed an increasingly sophisticated system for collecting terrorism data. This contract with the State Department allows us to put this system to good use and is a great example of how the GTD can help fill a fundamental role in providing data for the government."

Since 2005, the statistical annexes to the report had been provided by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) using its Worldwide Incidents Tracking System (WITS). NCTC discontinued WITS in April 2012.