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START begins project to support Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative


START begins project to support Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative

September 30, 2014Lauren Sagl

In support of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI), START researchers Jeff Gruenewald, Will Parkin and Paxton Roberts will be working with the director of the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) program to validate the sixteen indicators of suspicious activity that are currently used in the SAR initiative. To validate the indicators, Gruenewald and Roberts will conduct studies examining and identifying indicators of suspicious activity using the Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) and the American Terrorism Study Database at the University of Arkansas.

“These indicators are used to train law enforcement and first responder personnel, and serve as a basis for reporting suspicious activity nationally,” said William Braniff, START’s executive director. “Validating them, or perhaps even refining or adding to the list of indicators and behaviors based on these two empirical datasets, will result in improved training and reporting nationally.”

“This project is a great example of how mature research, even when it is ‘basic’ research, can directly inform counterterrorism training, policy and practice,” Braniff said. “The two datasets -- the ECDB and the ATS -- are two of the richest sources of data on terrorism and extremist crime in the context of the United States, and the respective research teams can now conduct very sophisticated analyses based on decades worth of objective data.”

Funded through the National SAR Initiative, START Executive Director William Braniff will be working with the director of the State and Local Anti-Terrorism Training (SLATT) to develop a report on recommendations for counterterrorism training, policy and practice.

With the funding from the National SAR Initiative, researchers at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism will conduct two separate studies, the first of which examines and identifies indicators of suspicious activity using the Extremist Crime Database (ECDB). The second study will research suspicious activity indicators using the American Terrorism Study Database at the University of Arkansas.

“These indicators are used to train law enforcement and first responder personnel, and serve as a basis for reporting suspicious activity nationally,” Braniff said. “Validating them, or perhaps even refining or adding to the list of indicators and behaviors based on these two empirical datasets, will result in improved training and reporting nationally.”

Once the studies are complete, researchers will then be able to take these verified statistics and apply them to various reports like Braniff’s.

“This project is a great example of how mature research, even when it is ‘basic’ research, can directly inform counterterrorism training, policy and practice,” Braniff said. “The two datasets -- the ECDB and the ATS -- are two of the richest sources of data on terrorism and extremist crime in the context of the United States, and the respective research teams can now conduct very sophisticated analyses based on decades worth of objective data.”

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North America