WASHINGTON, D.C. — Wednesday, the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) released its annual report on mass attacks in public spaces. 

The study, Mass Attacks in Public Spaces - 2018, focuses on 27 incidents that occurred between January and December 2018, in which three or more persons were harmed and were carried out in public places (e.g., school, workplace, house of worship) within the United States. 

Included in this study is the May 24 attack where a gunman injured three in a restaurant in Oklahoma City. 

“The National Threat Assessment Center has unique and unparalleled experience in identifying threats to safety and preventing tragedies,” U.S. Secret Service Director James Murray said. “This report provides our communities with information and best practices to recognize and prevent future violence.” 

Regardless of whether these attacks were acts of workplace violence, domestic violence, school-based violence, or inspired by ideology, similar themes were observed in the behaviors and circumstances of the perpetrators and were not the result of a single cause or motive. 

“Preventing targeted violence is an issue that concerns all of us,” said Dr. Lina Alathari, Chief of the National Threat Assessment Center. “The Secret Service remains committed to supporting the efforts of our partners in keeping their communities safe by providing guidance on threat assessment through our research and information sharing efforts.” 

“The Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center is uniquely positioned on the cutting edge of research into targeted violence by virtue of our protective mission,” said Special Agent in Charge Glenn Dennis of the Secret Service Oklahoma City Field Office. “The information in the NTAC study will provide Oklahoma public and private leaders a powerful tool to use in training, assessing, and responding to situations where their personnel may be in jeopardy or there is a concern from a potential threat.” 

The study also found that early warning signs could be identified and that targeted violence is preventable if appropriate systems are in place to identify concerning behaviors, gather information to assess the risk of violence, and utilize community resources to mitigate risk. 

Since the 1990’s, the Secret Service NTAC has been conducting research, training, consultation, and information sharing on threat assessment and the prevention of targeted violence. In addition to mass attacks in public places, NTAC has studied attacks directed at government agencies and officials, workplaces, and schools, colleges, and universities. This systematic approach identifies individuals who may be exhibiting threatening or concerning behavior and assessing the risk posed by the individual. The continuous academic research-based approach to studying indicators of acts of violence supports the Secret Service's protective mission and our nation's effort to better protect our communities. 

The Secret Service will continue to build on our threat assessment methodology and provide our research findings and approach to the public and private sectors to enhance prevention efforts of those charged with safeguarding our nation. Our latest study on Mass Attacks in Public Spaces -2018 represents another piece in the continuous effort to ensure we are doing everything possible to fulfill our protective mission and provide our partners and communities with sound and reliable information. 

Go to https://www.secretservice.gov/protection/ntac/ for more information regarding the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center. To view the 2018 Mass Attacks in Public Spaces Report go to https://www.secretservice.gov/data/press/reports/USSS_FY2019_MAPS.pdf.