Terrorism Statistics


The majority of terrorist attacks result in no fatalities, with just 1 percent of such attacks causing the deaths of 25 or more people.

And terror incidents began rising some in 1998, and that level remained relatively constant through 2004.

These and other myth-busting facts about global terrorism are now available on a new online database open to the public.

The database identifies more than 30,000 bombings, 13,400 assassinations and 3,200 kidnappings. Also, it details more than 1,200 terrorist attacks within the United States.

A lot of this depends on your definition of "terrorism," but it's interesting stuff.

The database was developed by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) based at the University of Maryland, with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. It includes unclassified information about 80,000 terror incidents that occurred from 1970 through 2004.

The database is here:

The Global Terrorism Database (GTD) is an open-source database including information on terrorist events around the world since 1970 (currently updated through 2004). Unlike many other event databases, the GTD includes systematic data on international as well as domestic terrorist incidents that have occurred during this time period and now includes almost 80,000 cases. For each GTD incident, information is available on the date and location of the incident, the weapons used and nature of the target, the number of casualties, and -- when identifiable -- the identity of the perpetrator.

Posted on June 5, 2007 at 2:38 PM • 20 Comments


merkelcellcancerJune 5, 2007 3:22 PM

Looks like we should be very concerned with the terrorist group ELF here in the United States of AmeriKA.

Earth Liberation Front (ELF).

merkelcellcancerJune 5, 2007 3:25 PM


There is no ELF structure; "it" is non-hierarchical and there is no centralized organization or leadership.

There is no "membership" in the Earth Liberation Front.

Any individuals who committed arson or any other illegal acts under the ELF name are individuals who choose to do so under the banner of ELF and do so only driven by their personal conscience.

StatJune 5, 2007 4:14 PM

Seems to support the fact that an American in the States is more likely to get wrongfully convicted by their own government than be injured by a terrorist.

AlanJune 5, 2007 6:35 PM

Bruce, pointing this out makes you a terrorist.

Please report to your local reprogramming facility.

AnonymousJune 5, 2007 8:30 PM

"When do we start a Global War On Bathtubs ?"

I have the perfect slogan: Stop the Madness. Take a Cold Shower.

DylanJune 5, 2007 8:46 PM

Bathtub deaths are an unavoidable fact of life. If every home had a terrorist, there would be a lot more deaths from terrorism.

(I am kidding, just not sure exactly how. Now I re-read that it also makes a weird kind of sense.)

GeoffJune 5, 2007 9:27 PM

This is exactly the type of knee-jerk reaction to perceived threats that's putting us at such risk. Reaction should be proportionate, and based on objective facts rather than emotional response. Bathtubs? Bathtubs? Honestly people, you're looking in completely the wrong direction. It's TOILETS that are the real problem. Remember, No Toilet is 100% Safe.


NaughtJune 5, 2007 11:01 PM

I think we will all start taking bathtubs more seriously if and when they band together and start their own uranium enrichment program.

ThomasJune 6, 2007 3:57 AM

"""A lot of this depends on your definition of "terrorism," """

That's one of those irregular nouns:
- I commit acts of patriotism
- You commit acts of civil disobedience
- They commit acts of terrorism

gregJune 6, 2007 4:51 AM

I'm all for a war on peanuts.

Is there a food product that does not contain traces of peanuts? They have already poisoned our food supply!!!

cmillsJune 6, 2007 5:59 AM

There are two things I am skeptical about, concerning these statistics:

1. As mentioned, what is the definition of terrorism that these statistics were based on?

2. What about before the "T" word became such a buzzword? Were acts which would not be considered terrorism in 1970, but would now be considered so included in these statistics? It seems as though this would cause the numbers to be off.

genevainformationJune 6, 2007 7:40 AM

"03/03/1998: Anti-nuclear activists disrupted service along the Hamburg-Bremen railway line in Germany in an act of sabotage. There were no casualties from the attack, but damage amounted to 100,000 Deutche Marks. In addition to this incident, the Hannover-Minden line was also attacked."

The definition of "Terrorism" in this database does certainly not fit in with german law.

The (german) penal code identifies terrorism as an activity of "founding an organiziation" which intends to commit murder or crimes against humanity and some others.

The emphasis is on "organization" and "purpose" of it. The frustrated person who blows up a fast food restaurant is guilty of several crimes, but certainly not a terrorist.

The database as presented contains, as commented above, violations of all kinds, some of which would not even be considered a crime (punishable with a minimum of one year) but only a "violation" with a minimum sentence of a few months.

It's certainly a good guide on where to not park your car but nobody can seriously derive any information about terrorism from it.

AnonymousJune 6, 2007 12:16 PM

@merkelcellcancer: "Looks like we should be very concerned with the terrorist group ELF..."

ALF (Animal Liberation Front) seems about neck-and-neck with ELF.

KaszetaJune 6, 2007 12:55 PM

I'll agree on the ALF comment...

I was a student at Michigan State when Rod Coronado and his Animal
Liberation Front firebombed labs
and offices in Anthony Hall. My classroom was across the hall from
there. I saw firsthand the damage they did (primarily to a research
who had won awards for her humane treatment of animals, actually).

For that matter, that event is why I have a lifetime dislike of PETA, since PETA's leaders paid Rod Coronado's legal bills, talked about how great the firebombing was, and talked about how more bombings and lab ransackings would occur.

The difference between civil disobedience and terrorism is violence.

KaukomieliJune 7, 2007 4:22 AM

Did you know:

ALF was the first extraterrestrial terrorist?

@ genevaconvention:

I think this is only partially true. Sure, the word terrorism is only mentioned in the "banding together"-paragraph, but I would say that terrorism is what is mentioned in §§ 81, 92 StGB.
Unfortunately I am unable to translate this.
One could even argue that allowing the CIA to kidnap people in germany or any help of the police etc. in those cases would fall under § 92 II Nr. 2 StGB.

djmJune 7, 2007 7:13 PM

The article says: "And terror incidents began rising some in 1998, and that level remained relatively constant through 2004." This doesn't make any sense to me. Did rates rise, or did they remain relatively constant? If I look at the graphs here:,
it seems as though rates were fairly steady from 1998 to 2001, 9/11 created a big spike, and then casualties and fatalities started rising. (There was also a big non-fatal spike in 1998, from the Nairobi embassy bombing.)

Comments on this entry have been closed.

Sidebar photo of Bruce Schneier by Joe MacInnis.