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New database provides insights into terrorism countermeasures

START Investigators release report on Countermeasures against Extremism and Terrorism Database

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) recently published a report that discusses the development of the Countermeasures against Extremism and Terrorism (CoMET) Database, which catalogues government and non-government countermeasures taken in response to terrorist and extremist activities.

The database specifically includes countermeasures taken against the activities of Homegrown Islamic Violent Extremists in the United Kingdom (HIVE-UK), al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and Anti-Abortion Extremists (AAE) in the United States.

"CoMET is important because it is one of the first large-scale datasets to systematically catalogue counterterrorism events," said Jonathan Kennedy, author of the CoMET report.

"Perhaps the biggest contribution of CoMET is that it can enhance our understanding of the variety of countermeasures employed against a variety of threats and across different contexts."

Within the report, several descriptive statistics are available for HIVE-UK, AQIM and AAE in the United States, including:

  • the total number of countermeasures taken against each group,
  • the distribution of countermeasures taken against each group type, which includes countermeasures taken by police and within the prison system, among others.

The new report also outlines the challenges researchers faced in compiling CoMET.

"Another contribution of CoMET is that it has helped to shed light on a range of conceptual and empirical challenges that have received relatively little attention in this line of research," Kennedy said.

He noted that comparing countermeasures taken by different governments in three very different social, political and economic environments, presented a significant methodological challenge, as they pertain to three very different types of terrorist threats.

To request a copy of the Countermeasures against Extremism and Terrorism (CoMET) Database report, e-mail infostart@start.umd.edu.