Department of Homeland Security Report Reveals Scope of Terrorist Attacks on U.S.
Fifteen years ago, skyscrapers in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and a plane in Pennsylvania were subjected to attack by terrorists. This single event, which led to the deaths of 2,996 people, has been burned into American culture as proof that the United States faces an existential threat from terrorism. Any argument to the contrary can be trumped symbolically with the four syllables “nine eleven.”
We are not only a symbolic nation of culture, however. We are also a nation of counts. To develop a count of terrorist attacks, the Department of Homeland Security has funded the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism And Responses to Terrorism (START). Housed at the University of Maryland, START maintains a current database of terrorist attacks tracking the occurrence and circumstances of such attacks around the world.
This map describes the location of terrorist attacks around the world in 2015, the most recently completed year. Areas with attacks are colored orange and red where fatalities and injuries are high in number; where fatalities and injuries are low in number, attacks are colored yellow and green.
As you can see from the map, the United States is not among the hotspot targets of terrorist attacks. The top two current hotspots for terrorism are Afghanistan and Iraq, the two nations the United States decided to invade at the beginning of this century.
Information on the trend of terrorist attacks over time in the United States is also available from Homeland Security’s START database. The START count for the United States goes back to 1970:
The number of terrorist incidents in the United States is fairly low compared to the number of incidents in the 1970s and 1980s.