This research project examined the spatial context of where terrorism incidents occur, where terrorists plan and prepare for their crimes, and where terrorists reside in the United States.
These issues are addressed to facilitate the development of analytical approaches that can identify common trends in domestic radicalization and provide law enforcement/intelligence agencies with effective methods for diagnosing, anticipating, and responding to the risk of radicalization in their jurisdictions. The study first identified demographic and social characteristics of communities (counties and census tracts) that, when considered in combination, form dominant profiles for communities at risk for experiencing terrorists’ pre-incident and incident activities. Second, researchers identified situational, place-based risk factors most associated with places where terrorists’ pre-incident and incident activities are most likely to occur. Data sources for this effort are described, along with techniques used in data analysis. Overall, researchers determined that place does matter in the risk assessment for terrorism-related events in the United States. The current analysis indicates that during about 19 years, there were 296 domestic terrorism events, averaging about 10 events a year. This study revealed the interplay between the physical infrastructure and social characteristics of neighborhoods throughout the United States in relation to the risk for terrorist planning and execution of an attack. By understanding profiles related to successful and unsuccessful terrorism incidents, public-safety planners can examine their jurisdictions’ risk for terrorism activity and use their resources accordingly. 22 tables and 19 figures