Terrorism’s New Theme: Private Property & Citizens

The frequency of terror attacks is increasing and unfortunately it’s the new “normal;” As difficult as it is to write this and describe the state of our situation as “normal.” Turn on your television, visit your favorite news outlet website, and scroll through your social media feed… the omnipresence of terror attack reports is overwhelming.

We often view this with a detached sense of responsibility – it’s someone else’s problem in a part of the world where I’ll never visit or it’ll never happen here in my town and on my street. The past few years have proved this thinking wrong. Lone-wolf, homegrown, refugee, transplant, or whatever you want to label the person as – it’s all terrorism. A machete in Columbus, Ohio: six dead, 10 injured. Firearms at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida; 50 killed, 53 injured. A sniper in Dallas, Texas: six killed, 10 injured. Home-made explosives in New York City, New York: 29 injured. These are just a sample from 2016 and don’t include the atrocities in Boston, Massachusetts during the Boston Marathon and the shooting in San Bernardino, California in the not-so-distant years.

The University of Maryland Global Database tracks each individual terror attack across the globe and we can visually see each country touched by the attacks. This map shows 45 years of terrorism in a heat map format, where red indicates the intensity value combination of fatalities and injuries. Key takeaway: almost every country in the world has been impacted by a terrorist attack.

The Database currently includes attacks through 2015. It’s clear, the frequency of global attacks have steadily increased since approximately 2004:

The Database also allows us to see what is being targeted specifically and how the terrorists are attacking those targets. The following three graphs apply to private property and private citizens. The first graph show that since 2004 there has been a significant increase of attacks on private property and citizens. The second graph shows the type of attack and the third graph shows the weapon type used on private property and citizens.


The Majority Staff of the House Homeland Security Committee released a 2016 Year in Review report of terrorist activity in the United States. This December report highlights the following and can be found at https://homeland.house.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/December-Terror-Threat-Snapshot.pdf

This report also states that, “The United States faces its highest Islamist terror threat environment since 9/11, and much of the threat now stems from individuals who have been radicalized at home.” Their website includes an interactive map that labels the location and summary of event for each location of incident. There’s certainly no shortage of activity within the United States. Readers should visit the site and be aware of the activity in their communities.

Private and public organizations are recognizing the growing threat to private property and citizens. This is especially important to organizations who attract large crowds and who could be considered a soft target (without relative protection measures in place). For example, the National Football League, better known as the NFL, has recognized their past vulnerabilities and began to implement the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology SAFETY Act requirements for their stadiums. In short, any organization who hires or employs SAFETY Act compliant companies are able to protect citizens by having proven technologies and procedures in place. This also protects their organizations from the liability associated with a terror attack; this proves to the DHS that they have taken the necessary precautions to protect their patrons.

The Science and Technology SAFETY Act offers three different Seals: Developmental Testing and Evaluation, Designated, and Certified. Despite the visual differences, all three Seals offer liability protection to those companies who employ a SAFETY Act Technologies.

As a company, we have to adapt to meet the growing trends in the threat mitigation and security industry. In order to remain vigilant in a rapidly changing environment, we have applied for the same certifications and designations from the DHS. In 2016, we were awarded the SAFETY Act Developmental Testing and Evaluation Designation Seal for our Person-Borne Explosive Detection Dog (PB-EDD) capability. This new capability was designed specifically for the protection of large crowds. Canines, which are unparalleled in detecting scent signatures, are the single-most effective detection method for explosive material. These canines are trained to detect a scent trail left by a person carrying munitions or explosive material in a backpack, under clothing, or similar. This is extremely effective at entry control points and it provides an additional layer of complimentary security to current measures. Traditionally, canine detection was point-and-go for static items: inspect a car, package, or backpack; they were directed to an object to inspect. The PB-EDD capability is able to detect the moving target by “locking-in” on the chemical signature and following it to the source.

These facts and statistics don’t tell a story in some distant unreachable land – it’s right here at home – in our backyards. We must understand the severity of the threats facing our country. Our goal is to provide a solution to the evolving problems we face as a community. We encourage anyone with questions about the PB-EDD capability to please call and speak with us. Our team is available.


National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START). (2016). Global Terrorism Database [Data file]. Retrieved from https://www.start.umd.edu/gtd