The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland released findings that eleven of the top twenty most active terrorists groups are linked to al-Qaida. This information is compiled in the Global Terrorism Database, which records terrorist attacks resulting deaths and injuries. Terrorist attacks are defined as the threatened or actual use of illegal force and violence by a non-state actor to attain a political, economic, religious, or social goal through fear, coercion, or intimidation. This database is made available online to increase understanding of terrorist violence in order for it to be defeated.
In August 2011, a Maryland native, Warren Weinstein, was kidnapped in Pakistan. This is the only terrorist attack in 2011 that was directly linked to al-Qaida Central. However, START claims that more than half of the most active terrorist groups are related to al-Qaida Central. The year 2011 continued a trend of decreasing activity by al-Qaida Central and increasing terrorist activity by affiliated groups. These groups have committed over 780 attacks, resulting in more than 3,000 deaths and wounded more than 4,600.
The START Consortium also released four decades of geocoded Global Terrorism Database information for eight regions of the world. This allows researchers to chart city-level progression of attacks across regions and specific group movement, such as the prevalence of ecoterrorism in the United States during the 1990s. Other regions of the world are still being geocoded. With the help of satellite technology and geographic information systems to study crime, political violence, and terrorism, hopefully the future will bring a fully geocoded Global Terrorism Database.
For more information, visit the START Center’s Global Terrorism Database at: http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/.
October 17, 2012