Attacks

Key Points

  • Attacks can be perpetrated by many different actors with different motivations, such as terrorists, violent extremists, and targeted violent offenders. All use violent tactics to harm people and/or property.
  • The consequences of the attack depend on the tactics employed by the threat actor, such as active shooter(s) events, bombings, arson, murder, kidnapping and hostage-taking, maritime attack, and hijacking or skyjacking. Other chapters cover cyber-attacks, biological hazards, infrastructure failure, and hazardous materials incidents (including bombs).
  • The 9/11 World Trade Center attacks in New York City critically changed the national perception of our vulnerability and response to terrorism in the United States. However, the use of large-scale tactics remains rare, and has not been successful in the United States since 9/11. Threat actors are more likely to use small-scale tactics in today's security-conscious environment to avoid disruption of their plan.

  • The threat of terrorism and violent extremism has grown with the interconnectedness afforded by the internet. Terrorist organizations can reach anyone around the world to support or participate in attacks. The openness of the internet allows for the disconnected/autonomous sharing of ideas, tactics, and successes that motivate others to act.

  • The number of active shooter incidents has increased over the last decade. Intense media coverage of active shooter events has created a heightened sense of risk despite these events being relatively rare.

  • It remains nearly impossible to predict violent attacks, but security and intervention measures are continuing to evolve with the use of new tactics employed by threat actors. ·       Seattle has experienced attacks perpetrated by domestic terrorists and other targeted violent offenders. However, Seattle has most commonly endured attacks targeted at property, active shooter events, and activity related to terrorism.

  • Seattle has many public spaces and locations vulnerable to attacks, with the densely-populated downtown area being most vulnerable.  

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