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New, Updated Data on Global Terrorist Activity Now Available


New, Updated Data on Global Terrorist Activity Now Available

June 19, 2009

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) has released a new version of its Global Terrorism Database (GTD), with an accompanying new website. The GTD is an open-source database including information on terrorist events around the world. Unlike many other event databases, the GTD includes systematic data on domestic as well as transnational and international terrorist incidents that have occurred during this time period.

For each GTD incident, information is available on the date and location of the incident, the weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties, and, when identifiable, the perpetrator. Over 80,000 of these incidents have been included in the updated database, and this information can be extracted from the database to provide reference data as it was after the attacks in Mumbai.

Characteristics of the updated GTD:

  • Contains information on over 80,000 terrorist attacks
  • Currently the most comprehensive unclassified data base on terrorist events in the world
  • Includes information on more than 27,000 bombings, 12,000 assassinations, and 2,900 kidnappings since 1970
  • Presents information on at least 45 variables for each case, with more recent incidents including information on more than 120 variables
  • Supervised by an advisory panel of 12 terrorism research experts
  • Over 3,500,000 news articles and 25,000 news sources were reviewed to collect GTD from 1998 to 2007 alone

Previous versions of the database (GTD1 and GTD2) covered events that occurred between 1970 and 2004. The update to the GTD synthesized previous versions and expanded the data to include events from 1970 through 2007. Annual updates will continue to be added in the future.

Gary LaFree, Director of START and--with Maryland criminology professor Laura Dugan-- principal investigator of the GTD, comments, "Ever since we began this project more than eight years ago, our goal has been to provide the most accurate and comprehensive unclassified data on terrorist attacks that has ever been assembled. With this release we have made substantial progress in realizing this goal." START is making the GTD available through an online, user-friendly interface.

Government officials and interested researchers may request versions of the data through the contact form at the GTD website.