COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Over the past decade, attacks and plots by homegrown terrorists in the United States have increased, the work of extremists from across the political spectrum - roughly 40 percent of it by so-called 'lone wolf,' non-aligned actors - says an analysis by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) based at the University of Maryland.
The statistics underscore the threat addressed in a White House plan released Thursday: Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States - a blueprint for "building community resilience against violent extremism."
"There have been more than 200 terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11, but what has really increased is the total number of foiled terrorist plots," says UMD researcher and START director Gary LaFree, who has developed the largest and most comprehensive unclassified terrorism database in the world with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
"Our researchers have tracked over 100 foiled plots in the past decade," LaFree adds. "Most of these would be classified as homegrown terrorism."
The new White House plan follows up on a strategy first laid out last August, and discussed at UMD by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in October.
"The facts make it clear - homegrown, violent extremism is not just a problem for other countries," LaFree explains. "The administration plan confronts this reality by providing a strategy that draws heavily on local communities as the key to prevention."
FACT SHEET: VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN THE UNITED STATES
Overall Domestic Terror Stats (from the Global Terrorism Database)
The Global Terrorism Database is an open-source database including information on more than 98,000 terrorist events around the world from 1970 through 2010. It is currently the most comprehensive unclassified database on terrorist events in the world. For each incident, information is available on the date and location of the incident, weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties, and - when identifiable -the group or individual responsible.
Profiles of Islamic Radicalization in North America
START's "Profiles of Islamic Radicalization in North America Database" provides information on 211 individuals known to have radicalized in North America to the point of supporting violence from 1989 to 2011. These homegrown violent extremists started and completed a significant portion of their radicalization in North America, though not all attempted or carried out violence in North America.
START's "Extremist Crime Database" includes a systematic collection of open-source data on non-violent and violent criminal behavior in the United States associated with far-right extremist groups, far-left extremist groups, and al-Qaida-influenced groups. By developing this database, START researchers have thus far recorded thousands of criminal incidents committed by far-right extremists between 1990 and 2010 and more than one hundred by those inspired by al-Qaida. Data collection on far-left criminal activity is currently underway.
|Contact: Neil Tickner|
University of Maryland