Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Global Terrorism Database

Global Terrorism Database – http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What terror attacks can be attributed to anti-abortion opposition?
  • How many terrorist linked biological attacks have taken place since 2001?
  • What are some attacks in China that killed more than 100 people each?

This database covers terrorist attacks from 1970 through 2012 and covers both international and US domestic terrorism. The database can be browsed or searched by keyword. For example, searching on abortion brings up 257 incidents since 1970, with virtually all in the United States.

Search results include GTD ID, Date of Attack, Country, City, Perpetrator, Fatalities, Injured, Target Type. The results list can be sorted by any column by clicking its heading. Clicking on a specific incident brings up a summary of the attack and a number of details including the news accounts of the accounts.

An Advanced search allows you to search by: When, Region, Country, Perpetrator, Weapon Type, Attack Type, Target Type, Terrorism Criteria and Causalities. If you are using multiple criteria, be sure to pick a country or region before selecting other criteria.

Back in 2011, a search for attacking resulting in more than a 101 deaths in the United States pulled up four attacks: Timothy McVeigh’s killing of 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995 and the three attacks on 9/11. Looking globally, there have been 118 terrorist incidents killing more than a 101 people at once. Ten of these have taken place in Iraq since 2006.


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