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LexisNexis® Risk Solutions Predicts Top Three Public Safety Threats Impacting Law Enforcement in 2018

New Patterns of Terrorism, Opioid Addiction and Human Trafficking Will Require Innovative Approaches to Counter the Threats


Evolving threats of terrorism, drug abuse and human trafficking will be the top three challenges impacting U.S. law enforcement in 2018, according to recent predictions by LexisNexis® Risk Solutions. While these problems are familiar, new techniques and technologies used by perpetrators will require agencies to share data, employ new intelligence technologies and work together more closely to combat the threats effectively, the company said.

Prediction 1: Terrorism will move into local communities
Local communities are becoming the new battleground for both domestic and foreign-led terrorists, according to the latest data trends from the U.S. Extremist Crime Database[1]&[2]. Not counting last year’s high-profile attacks, there have been 85 deadly attacks by violent extremists in the U.S. since 9/11 linked to both radical Islamist and far right ideologies, killing 225 citizens.  

From Sayfulo Saipov who used a truck to run down people along a Manhattan bike path to the Orlando nightclub shooting to the Las Vegas massacre, terrorists are increasingly targeting soft civilian venues within local communities to strike fear into the population. Some are lone wolf attacks; others orchestrated by foreign-based extremist groups bent on carrying out attacks in the west. Local communities will also continue to grow as breeding grounds for radicalizing future terrorists, fueled by local extremist groups operating under the radar as well as the use of the Internet and social media to recruit and train individuals.

“Local communities will increasingly become a first line of defense against violent extremism in 2018,” said Tom Sizer, Senior Director, Law Enforcement Solutions, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “Local, state and federal law enforcement will need to quickly adapt to the changing landscape of terrorism and partner more closely in sharing and analyzing intelligence to combat the threats. For example, there is great promise in Records Management System data to identify ties between suspects and known extremist networks.”

Prediction 2: Millennial mortality rates continue to rise due to drug addiction
Despite intensive efforts by local, state and federal organizations, the opioid crisis will continue to worsen in 2018 before we see reversing trends. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)[3]&[4] indicate that the opioid epidemic is the deadliest overdose crisis in U.S. history, killing an average of 115 per people day.

A key cause is the increasing heroin and fentanyl addiction among millennials, who have become the first generation since Vietnam to face higher mortality rates in young adulthood than the generation that preceded it[5]. Recent research[6] suggests that better access to healthcare among millennials has had an unfortunate side effect of increased use of prescription painkillers to treat injuries, which then develops into over-prescribing and ultimately addiction to narcotics. 

Combining multiple data sources and being able to gain insights from connections and intersections is becoming an increasingly important tool that law enforcement, health and human services and other organizations can use to understand where drug abuse and drug crimes are occurring in the community so they can develop more effective strategies to contain it.

Prediction 3: Human trafficking will continue to grow
Human trafficking is one of the world’s fastest growing crimes according to data from the advocacy group Polaris Project[7], with more than 20 million victims trapped into forced labor and forced sex crimes. That global trend will continue to impact local U.S. communities in 2018 as criminal organizations and gangs expand their enterprises beyond drug and firearm trafficking to profit from the sales of human beings, often young children.

Because of the frequent movement of criminals and their victims from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, law enforcement data sharing and analytics platforms are proving to be effective weapons to counter the trend. For example, the Accurint® Virtual Crime Center from LexisNexis Risk Solutions enables multiple law enforcement agencies across jurisdictional lines to share law enforcement data and link it with public records to discover criminal patterns that human traffickers follow. 

Leading IT market research and advisory firm IDC[8] recently included the Accurint Virtual Crime Center in its IDC PlanScape: Real-Time Intelligence Centers report, citing its value as a virtualized intelligence center that enables law enforcement agencies to amalgamate, analyze and share data and insights across agencies and jurisdictions in a single platform. “LexisNexis’ Accurint Virtual Crime Center is an example of this type of offering that links available data sources in context. LexisNexis has a virtualized offering for data collection, ingestion, discovery and cleansing, integration, analysis, delivery, and sharing,” the report said. 

“Our top three predictions indicate local communities are increasingly becoming home to new kinds of terrorist threats, drug crimes and human trafficking enterprises,” said Sizer. “It’s urgent that we give law enforcement agencies greater visibility into crime within their communities as well as state- and nation-wide so they can better target investigations, identify patterns, predict upcoming events and deploy resources more efficiently.”

Editor’s Note:
LexisNexis Risk Solutions for Government. By linking our public records and unique data sets with customer data and displaying it visually, we help customers see non-obvious relationships between people, businesses and assets. We help law enforcement connect with other agencies for crime solving through Accurint Virtual Crime Center; we support health and human services agencies in helping benefits go to those who need them, as well as helping ensure provider and patient data validation; and we help tax and regulatory agencies connect people, businesses and assets for tax revenue management. Every day, we help customers meet their agency missions to find missing children, prevent fraud in government programs, recapture lost revenue, keep communities safe and to further national security initiatives.

About LexisNexis Risk Solutions
At LexisNexis Risk Solutions, we believe in the power of data and advanced analytics for better risk management. With over 40 years of expertise, we are the trusted data analytics provider for organizations seeking actionable insights to manage risks and improve results while upholding the highest standards for security and privacy. Headquartered in metro Atlanta USA, LexisNexis Risk Solutions serves customers in more than 100 countries and is part of RELX Group, a global provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. For more information, please visit

[1] The Terrorism and Extremist Violence in the United States (TEVUS) Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START)

[2] Numbers from 2015 through 2016 are still being verified by the ECDB

[3] Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dec, 16, 2016.

[4] Drug Overdose Death Data, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

[5] The Unseen U.S. Heroin Epidemic with Millennials, Press Web Media Digs Deeper to Determine the Root Cause, PressWeb Media and, Aug 31,2017

[6] The Unseen U.S. Heroin Epidemic with Millennials, Press Web Media Digs Deeper to Determine the Root Cause,, Aug 31, 2017

[7] Human Trafficking, Polaris

[8] IDC, IDC PlanScape: Real-Time Intelligence Centers, IDC #US41441717, August 2017

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