On Monday, June 18 from 2:00 to 3:00, START Director Gary LaFree will give a lecture titled “The Future of Terrorism.” This event is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are appreciated.
The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) now includes data on nearly 180,000 terrorist attacks, world-wide from 1970-2017. Based on the assumption that the patterns observed in terrorism over the past 50 years will continue into the future, researchers can make predictions about how terrorism is likely to evolve in the years ahead, including predictions on trends in terrorism, the deadliness of attacks, and the concentration of attacks in time and space. Conclusions about terrorism drawn from a very large data set are often quite different than the portrayal of individual terrorist attacks in the media. In contrast to the media, most terrorist attacks are not very deadly, very few rely on sophisticated weapons or ingenious plots. Many terrorist attacks fail. But terrorism is also evolving. The role of the internet and the social media has been especially important. Dr. LaFree will discuss how the locus of terrorism has continued to move to new locations over time, and conclude with some policy observations about the future of terrorism and the implications of terrorism for democratic institutions.