In 2005 the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (known as START) was started at the University of Maryland, which is also the home of a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. The current Director of the Consortium, Gary LaFree, summarizes some of the conclusions that have been reached from an analysis of their Global Terrorism Database:
#1: Terrorism is rare
#2: Mass attacks are rarer still
#3. Prevention is improving
#4. Terrorist groups are not all alike
2,300 unique terrorist organizations identified in the GTD since 1970, nearly 70 percent had a life span of less than a year.
#5. Assigning responsibility is tough
Data from the GTD shows that no terrorist group can be assigned responsibility in nearly 60 percent of the thousands of attacks that occurred worldwide since 1970.
#6: We’re still developing strategy