Researchers, as part of the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) under the Department of Homeland Security, are trying to come up with a way to better predict where and when terrorist attacks would happen on U.S. soil.
To start, the researchers from the University of Maryland and University of Massachusetts-Boston mapped all events considered terrorism since 1970 to 2008 in the United States (below). This established areas they deemed terrorism “hot spots” but also revealed that terrorism is actually “widely dispersed”. So widely dispersed that every state has experienced some act of terrorism in some form, according to the report. The report defines a hot spot as an area where more than the average number of terrorist attacks have taken place — the average for the U.S. is six.
The research found that a third of all terrorist attacks during that time-frame studied took place in five metropolitan cities — Manhattan, New York (343 attacks); Los Angeles County, Calif. (156 attacks); Miami-Dade County, Fla. (103 attacks); San Francisco County, Calif. (99 attacks); and Washington, D.C. (79 attacks).
“Mainly, terror attacks have been a problem in the bigger cities, but rural areas are not exempt,” Gary LaFree, director of START and lead author of the new report, said in the University of Maryland press release.
“The main attacks driving Maricopa into recent hot spot status are the actions of radical environmental groups, especially the Coalition to Save the Preserves. So, despite the clustering of attacks in certain regions, it is also clear that hot spots are dispersed throughout the country and include places as geographically diverse as counties in Arizona, Massachusetts, Nebraska and Texas,” LaFree added.