The United States Secret Service has released a report seeking to find commonalities between violent incidents in public areas across the country.
The analysis was released Wednesday, days after a series of mass shootings in California killed 18 people and cast a new light on the U.S.’s frequent killings.
The report identified a total of 173 terrorist attacks that occurred between 2016 and 2020 that took place in “more or less public places” in the country. These changes included “businesses, schools, houses of worship, open spaces and other places where we live our daily lives”. .
In all 173 cases, three or more people were injured, including the attacker.
Of the 180 criminals identified, 63 were between the ages of 25 and 34, the highest of any age group. The highest age groups were 14 to 24 and 35 to 44. About 96 percent of the attackers were male.
About three-quarters of the terrorists had guns. 88 incidents were counted in commercial areas – including restaurants and shopping centers – with another 60 occurring in open areas such as streets, roads and parking lots. Thirteen were held in places of learning, and five in houses of worship.
Willful violence can be ‘prevented’ by weapons
Wednesday’s report comes as pressure is growing to develop early detection and community prevention measures, known as “behavioral threat testing”.
The report concludes from the 173 incidents that have been identified “those facing violence can be prevented when communities have the right tools, training and resources to intervene before violence occurs”.
Among the most important, the report found that many of the attackers had “raised concerns” from family, friends, neighbours, schoolmates and colleagues before committing violence. Most also had a history of violent or dangerous behavior, while more than half had a mental health problem.
Half of the attackers were “motivated by grievances” and were retaliating against wrongdoing they saw personally, at work or at home.
Meanwhile, a third of the attackers “subscribed to a conspiracy-related belief or hate ideology, including anti-government, anti-Semitic and misogynistic views,” the report said.
However, the report said that, in two-thirds of the incidents, the terrorist attacks were random, rather than intentional. The same group of terrorists made threats or other related communications before committing violence.
However, the report added that many of the threats that preceded the violence were vague, underscoring the need for swift action despite the lack of specific words.
To improve overall safety, the report recommended that workplaces implement violence prevention policies. The organization also asked the public to encourage immediate reporting of any behavior related, especially in cases of adultery or domestic violence.
The Secret Service report is the first of its kind
The Secret Service, which is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for protecting the US president and vice president, as well as the president-elect and the president-elect and his vice president.
However, the agency’s National Threat Assessment Center was established in 1998 to “provide research and guidance” to assist those with “public security responsibilities”.
Wednesday’s report was the first of its kind.
For its part, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), an agency of the Department of Justice, began recording so-called shooting incidents in 2017. The department defines an “active shooter” as someone who commits murder or attempts to kill people. in public places in a seemingly random way.
The Secret Service report was released just two days after a gunman shot and killed seven people in Half Moon Bay in northern California, with investigators saying evidence suggests the attack may have been “an incident of workplace violence”.
Just two days before this, on January 21, a gunman shot and killed 11 people at a Lunar New Year celebration near Los Angeles, California.
About 70 people have been killed in mass shootings in the US so far in 2023, according to data compiled by the Gun Violence Archive (GVA).