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Public Safety and Violence Prevention


The Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) Public Safety and Violence Prevention (PSVP) project supports Goal 1 of the DHS Strategic Plan to prevent acts of terrorism and targeted violence by conducting evidence-based research and evaluation to understand an evolving threat landscape.

PSVP focuses on targeted violence and terrorism prevention, human trafficking, and soft target security. This project aims to conduct social, behavioral, and economic science research to meet policy, operational, and public needs to improve the effectiveness of public safety and violence prevention efforts implemented by Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners through evaluation research, capability development and enhancement, and data development.

PSVP research will enable policy makers and operational end-users, such as first responders and local communities, to make informed decisions in policy and practice while providing prevention programs and practitioners with the tools they need. In doing so, PSVP is able to strengthen societal resistance against drivers of violent extremism and broad awareness of the threat of terrorism and targeted violence.

Social Science Research

S&T conducts social science research to (a) support our understanding of individual motives for engaging in, and disengaging from, violent extremism; (b) develop and assist locally-tailored interventions with local partners; and (c) evaluate the effectiveness of terrorism prevention activities and policies.

Social and behavioral science research is critical for DHS in developing a scientific understanding of how individuals, small groups, and organizations affect prevention, deterrence, threats, targeted violence, interventions, response, resilience, security, and recovery activities. Knowledge of how human beings behave in—and interact with—various socio-economic contexts they inhabit is an essential component of promoting multi-disciplinary research. These challenging tasks require access to a broad set of expertise drawn from the fields of psychology, economics, criminology, political science, sociology, biostatistics, computer science, and other disciplines. Knowledge and findings from this research will be translated into easily digestible products for federal, state, local, and community-based organizations to enable education and awareness to reinforce a whole-of-society prevention approach. S&T performs innovative research in support of the DHS Countering Terrorism and Targeted Violence Strategic Framework and the National Strategy for Countering Domestic Terrorism.

Centers of Excellence

The DHS National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center of Excellence, led by the University of Nebraska at Omaha, focuses on developing solutions to terrorism prevention and counterterrorism research to safeguard the nation’s people, infrastructure, and economy, including solutions that can help prevent terror attacks by countering the radicalization of people and their mobilization to violence.

DHS Prevention Resource Finder

DHS in collaboration with 17 federal partners launched the Prevention Resource Finder (PRF) website in March 2023. The PRF is a comprehensive web repository of federal resources available to help communities understand, mitigate, and protect themselves from targeted violence and terrorism. DHS’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships launched the site in coordination with the White House and DHS Office of Public Affairs.

New Featured Content

Program and Activity Fact Sheets

Human Trafficking

Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention (TVTP) Evaluations

Threat Assessment

Reintegration and Rehabilitation

Systematic Reviews

Community Resilience/Soft Target Security



Last Updated: 05/14/2024
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