2015 saw a drop in terrorist attacks from the previous year, and also a drop in the number of lives taken by terrorist actions. It’s the first time terrorism has gone down since 2012, so this represents a major positive step forward. 

There were about 15,000 terrorist attacks in 2015, which is around 2,000 fewer than there were in 2014. 43,000 people were killed by terrorist actions in 2014, compared to 38,000 in 2015.

Terrorism in the West was actually slightly up in 2015, but since the vast majority of terrorist attacks take place in the Middle East and North Africa, which saw the steepest decline, the global number is still down.

Global Terrorism Is Down
Illustration by Judson Collier for the Goodnewspaper

Why did terrorism take a dive? No one’s quite sure. It could be that we’re finally seeing some positive results from years of diplomacy, the product of anti-terrorism security measures worldwide, or just some good luck. It might even be the aftereffect of people banding together in the face of terrorism from Orlando to Oslo, showing a united front in the face of radical extremists. 

Most likely, it’s some combination of all those factors, and many more.

Whatever the reason, it makes it more important than ever for people who are talking about terrorism to be smart and avoid fear-mongering. 

Analysis of terrorism data in 2016 was not available as of publication, but regardless of what it uncovers, the most recent data reveals an important truth: Terrorism is not getting worse and worse all the time. Sometimes, it actually slows or even reverses course. We’ve all got a part to play in helping it stay that way.

A version of this article was originally published in Issue 01 of the Goodnewspaper in July 2017.