WASHINGTON (DC News Now) —The U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center released a report Wednesday that examines incidents of targeted violence that took place over the course of five years.

The report, called Mass Attacks in Public Spaces: 2016 – 2020, looks at 173 incidents and highlights similarities among attackers.

“The prevention of mass violence in America remains as critical as ever. Far too often, communities and families have been devastated by the impact of these tragedies, and public safety professionals continue to work toward preventing future attacks, the information revealed in this report is intended to guide those prevention efforts,” said U.S. Secret Service Director Kimberly Cheatle in a press release.

The attacks mentioned in the report showed that different types of locations were impacted, including businesses and workplaces, schools, houses of worship, military bases, residential complexes, etc. In many of these cases, the attackers had some sort of connection to the site of the attack.

“NTAC’s exploration of each attacker’s background, motivation, and pre-attack behavior will assist the Secret Service and our partners in our shared violence prevention efforts. We encourage our public safety partners to review the information within this report and apply it to their own practices for providing a safe environment in communities across the country,” said Cheatle.

Those responsible for the report said the results are meant to provide critical information to a cross-sector of community organizations that are vital in preventing these types of tragedies from happening again.

Some of the report’s key findings were:

  • Most of the attackers had shown prior behavior that caused concern among family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and others. In many instances, those individuals feared for other people’s safety as well as their own.
  • Many of the attackers had a history of being physically aggressive or intimidating, which was proven by prior violent criminal arrests/charges, domestic violence, or other acts of violence.
  • Some of the attackers were motivated by resentment and were retaliating for perceived wrongs related to personal, domestic, or workplace issues.
  • Most of the attackers used firearms, and many of those firearms were illegally owned at the time of the attack.
  • A few of the attackers followed a belief system that involved conspiracies or hateful ideologies, including anti-government, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic views.
  • Many of the attackers showed to have experienced stressful events throughout their life, including family/romantic relationships, personal issues, and employment. In some of these cases, attackers experienced a specific triggering event related to this prior to committing the attack.
  • Over half of the attackers experienced mental health issues prior to or at the time of their attacks, including depression and suicidal thoughts.

“Everyone in the community plays a role in violence prevention. The latest NTAC report provides an unprecedented analysis to support our public safety partners and affirms that targeted violence is preventable if communities have the right information and resources to recognize warning signs and intervene,” said National Threat Assessment Center Chief Dr. Lina Alathari.

The report also highlights key operational implications for those assigned with violence prevention. These operation implications should be kept in mind while communities develop the tools, training, resources, and policies to prevent future tragedies.