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Bomb Arson Tracking System (BATS)

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 15.05.13Location: Washington, D.C., USA


In 2004, the Attorney General mandated that 
all of the US Department of Justice’s arson and explosives datasets be consolidated into a single database, BATS. It was developed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the US Bomb Data Center to “better enable to reporting of arson and explosives-related incidents to the national database by federal, state, and local agencies.” Users of BATS have access to information about IED components, incendiary devices, suspect information and various other details about incidents involving explosives and fire cases.

It is free to use for these agencies, and allows bomb technicians and investigators to perform trend analysis and compare incidents. Theoretically, all IED-related incidents in the US should be reported and included in BATS.

US bomb squads should report incidents to the database for inclusion. Little information is available on the methodology, and only US agencies can access the database.

While the database should theoretically contain all data related to IEDs in the US, it has been reported that only 27% of US bomb squads were reporting to the database. Of these 27%, only half were reporting all incidents. This means the database remains inappropriate for an overall analysis of IED use in the US.

This profile is part of AOAV’s investigation into counter-IED (C-IED) actors around the globe. To see the list of all C-IED actors recorded by AOAV, see here. To see those engaged in the Middle East, the Sahel, North Africa or other highly impacted countries please see here, here, here, and here respectively. This research was made possible by funding from the NATO Counter Improvised Explosive Devices Centre of Excellence (C-IED COE). To read the full report, ‘Addressing the threat posed by IEDs: National, Regional and Global Initiatives’, see here.