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Building and Analyzing a Comprehensive Open Source Data Base on Global Terrorist Events

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2008
51 pages
This report presents a comprehensive open source collection of terrorist events with a first overview of global terrorism from 1970 to 2006.
This report, presents the first overview of global terrorism from 1970 to 2006 showing that terrorism has grown substantially since the early 1970s, peaking first in 1992 and then again in 2006. The report examines the distribution of attacks and fatalities over nine global regions. Findings show that Latin America and the Middle East are the most violent and lethal of all nine regions. In addition, South Asia and Western Europe account for a large portion of global terrorism. However, while Africa accounts for a relatively small portion of global terrorism, it accounts for a large portion of terrorism related fatalities. The newly compiled GTD-RAND data strongly suggest that terrorism today is largely a by product of the war in Iraq. The scope of open source databases on terrorist events has greatly expanded since the early 1970s. The Global Terrorism Database (GTD)-RAND merger contributes to this development by providing the most comprehensive open source collection of terrorist events ever collected. The GTD-RAND data are likely to be particularly useful for assessing the impact of specific policies or events on the future risk of terrorist activity of a particular type. It can be used to examine the impact of specific counter terrorism policies on specific terrorist groups in specific countries over time, as well as merged with other databases to allow analysis of global or regional terrorist events on other variables. Today, the GTD-RAND merger project represents the most extensive open source terrorism database. Compared to most types of criminal violence, terrorism poses special data collection challenges. However, utilizing data from both the RAND Terrorism Chronology and the GTD, a standardized, comprehensive, database on both international and domestic terrorist events from 1970 until 2006 was compiled. Tables, figures and references

Date Published: March 1, 2008