Only about 1.5 percent of 82,000 recorded terrorist attacks around the world between 1970 and 2007 involved more than 25 fatalities, criminologist Gary LaFree of the University of Maryland told the annual National Institute of Justice research conference yesterday. LaFree, director of the National Center for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism, said the public may be unaware of how unusual the attacks on the U.S. on 9/11/2001 were in terms of modern terrorism. An analysis his center has posted on the Inernet says there were more Latin American terrorist episodes in the 1970s than more recent attacks in or emanating from the Middle East.
The U.S. ranks only the 20th on the international list of terrorist targets, LaFree said. Colombia is way ahead at number 1. LaFree also noted that 93 percent of recorded terror attacks are domestic, meaning terrorists attacking citizens of their own country. Most terrorist groups do not last more than about a year, he said. Only a little more than 1 percent have persisted more than two decades.