FEDERAL DATA: 3 bombings in the U.S. in 2016 involved a hand-placed box


A third explosion since March 2, including two reported explosions Monday morning, is sparking concern that a serial bomber may be targeting Austin residents. Austin Police Department is investigating all three incidents for potential links but no confirmation has been made yet.

Out of 439 confirmed bombings reported to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms during the 2016 calendar year, only three involved someone hand-placing a box containing explosive material, according to the ATF’s 2016 Annual Explosives Incident Report, the latest report available on the ATF’s public website.

The report reviews bombing and explosives-related incidents and threats from information reported to the United States Bomb Data Center through the Bomb Arson Tracking System by its nearly 2,500 interagency partners and 12,153 registered users, according to the report.

The most commonly used delivery device in 2016 was a pipe bomb, used 61 times that year. 12 of the total involved a victim-operated switch. The most often-used type of explosive used was fireworks, used 126 times, followed by flash powder, used 46 times.

In 2016, of the 439 bombings nationwide:


  • 178 targeted homes;
  • 22 targeted schools (up from 16 in 2015);
  • and 2 targeted churches (down from 6 in 2015).

Victim injuries accounted for 87 percent of the total number of reported injuries in 2016 and were primarily caused by accidental explosions, according to the report. Explosion deaths totaled 9. The total did not break out injuries or deaths from a bomb blast.

California and Florida had the highest numbers of bombings.

(2015 vs. 2016 data)
CA                    42                           76
FL                     31                           24
MD                   26                           21
NY                    24                           28
WA                   24                           36

Texas explosion and bombing incident numbers are not listed in the top five nationally nor are the stats published online. Community Impact Newspaper has submitted records requests request for state-centric information.


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Rob Maxwell
Rob Maxwell joined the world of print journalism and Community Impact in Sept. 2017 as editor of the Lake Travis - Westlake edition. He previously enjoyed a successful career in radio and television news. In his spare time, Rob enjoys tasting local craft beverages and can be found scoping out climbing walls and hiking trails. He lives in Cedar Park with his wife and daughters and looks forward to receiving his LCP edition of Community Impact Newspaper every month.
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