Terrorism Databases for Analysis

NIJ has provided funding to develop databases that will help researchers analyze terrorist incidents around the globe and terrorism-related indictments in the U.S.

Terrorist Indictments: The American Terrorism Study. Since 1988, NIJ has supported a research team that has worked closely with the FBI to collect information on indictments from closed terrorism investigations. The work has resulted in a dataset that includes information on nearly 500 terrorists from about 60 terrorist groups indicted for more than 6,700 Federal criminal counts. NIJ has supported the data collection and analysis portion of the research, a portion of which has compared international jihad groups with domestic right-wing groups, and showed attempts by domestic terrorists to forge alliances with international jihadist groups 

In 2006, the American Terrorism Study began exploratory analysis of the behavioral, geographic, and temporal patterns of preparatory acts to support terrorist events. Researchers found that terrorists typically began preparing about three to four months before the planned terrorist incident. The most common preparatory behaviors included meetings, phone calls, the purchase of supplies and materials, and banking activities, which included everything from bank robbery to fund the planned incident to legitimate account withdrawals.

Inventory and Assessment of Databases Relevant for Social Science Research on Terrorism. (Library of Congress)
Describes and assesses Internet-accessible databases relevant for social science research on terrorism, specifically those Web sites that provide actual data, e.g., names of terrorist organizations, incidents of terrorist activity, and those with search capabilities. The sites are maintained primarily by U.S. Government agencies, non-U.S. research centers, and international organizations.

Pre-Incident Indicators of Terrorist Activities. (University of Arkansas)
Studies the relationship between preparatory and ancillary behaviors, both criminal and noncriminal, of terrorist group members and the terrorist acts they eventually plan or carry out. The goal of the study was to identify patterns of conduct that might lead to intervention prior to the commission of actual terrorist incidents.

The Impact of Economic, Political, and Social Variables on the Incidence of World Terrorism. (University of Maryland) Analyzes the Pinkerton Corporation's Global Intelligence Service database, which includes every threatened or actual case of domestic or international terrorism in the world from 1970 to 1997. The dataset contains information on 74,000 terrorist events - about ten times more events than the other publicly available datasets on terrorism. The project will conduct extensive comparative analysis between the Pinkerton data and other major publicly available quantitative terrorism databases (e.g., RAND, ITERATE, U.S. State Department) and assess patterns over time.

Geospatial Analysis of Terrorist Activities: The Identification of Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Preparatory Behavior of International and Environmental Terrorists. (University of Arkansas)
Previous work now provides a relational dataset that includes detailed information about the terrorist incident as well as preparatory acts or crimes, detailed offender information, and information on associated terrorist groups. The goal of the project is to divulge spatial and temporal patterns of terrorist activities that will enable law enforcement personnel to detect, disrupt, and prevent terrorist acts.

Building a Global Terrorism Database. (University of Maryland)
With the recent computerization of the original Pinkerton Global Intelligence Service (PGIS) data, a new dataset exists for the analysis of global terrorist incidents. However, the PGIS ended data collection in 1997, exactly the same time that the RAND Corporation began collecting worldwide terrorist incident data. This project brought together researchers from the University of Maryland and the RAND Corporation to produce a geocoded, integrated terrorist event database, stretching from 1970 to the future. It is by far the most extensive and empirically defensible terrorist event database of this type ever assembled.

Terrorism in Time and Space: The Inclusion of Spatio-Temporal Data From Federal Terrorism Cases Into the ATS Database. (University of Arkansas)
Researchers will collect 265 temporal and spatial variables on each of the approximately 700 terrorism cases officially investigated by the FBI under the AG Guidelines for Terrorism Investigations for the period 1980-2004 to enhance the ATS database. The resultant database will accommodate a wide array of statistical and geospatial methods of analysis.

Date Created: January 11, 2008