Cities at risk

Researchers use statistics to identify vulnerabilities

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress has allocated more than $2 billion a year to states and urban areas for counterterrorism activities. Much of that money is allocated based on risk and vulnerability analyses.

Now a group of professors has developed a statistical model to determine which of 132 U.S. cities are most at risk.

The top 18 most vulnerable cities include major urban areas such as Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington. The model also lists smaller cities such as Baton Rouge, La.; Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; Columbia, S.C.; New Orleans; Norfolk, Va.; and Richmond, Va.

But Los Angeles and San Francisco are missing.

The professors performed a complex statistical analysis using vulnerability indices related to all adverse events and linked to data on terrorist incidents and casualties. Atlanta, shown above, is among the top 18 U.S. cities considered to be at risk for a terrorist attack.

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