The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville is searching for patterns in U.S.-based terrorism as part of federally-funded research.
The university’s Terrorism Research Center has begun the American Terrorism Study, a three-year project funded by a $716,000 National Institute of Justice grant.
The study includes more than 570 American terrorism-related occurrences or planned occurrences that were never carried out, in addition to approximately 4,300 “precursor events,” according to an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette report.
According to a data analyst and assistant professor in the university’s sociology and criminology department, researchers have been using statistical methods in search of patterns in factors such as distance traveled by plotters to target sites.
The method in which the data in analyzed is called Risk Terrain Modeling, which is said to involve diagnosing physical features of the environment that correlate or relate to criminal activity. Features can include convenience stores, vacant lots, parks or liquor store.
UA researchers hope to eventually predict attacks with a data-based model to map and find commonalities of terrorism in the United States. The study could also help identify places and buildings that need the most protection.