The foundation for the Center for Analytics was developed by the late Dr. Richard Ward, a Marine and former detective in the NYPD, who is a former dean of the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences.
In the 1990s, he created the Office of International Criminal Justice at the University of Illinois- Chicago. It later became the Institute for the Study of Violent Groups (ISVG) at Sam Houston State University. Blending his experience as a detective with his academic research of terrorism and transnational crime, Dr. Ward was able to fulfill his vision to create a data-driven model that could use minute data related to an event to better predict activities in the future.
Through the ISVG, Dr. Ward developed the largest open source database of terrorist events. With more than 350,000 events, 38,000 individuals and 3,200 groups, the ISVG database represented a truly unique dataset that was used by organizations in the private and public sectors, as well as scholars in the field.
In 2008, Dr. Ward moved the ISVG from Sam Houston State University to the University of New Haven and continued to perform research and analysis of issues related to violent extremism and transnational crime. As the organization grew, ISVG began using techniques it had used to study terrorism to assist other organizations, such as law enforcement and private sector partners, analyze their own data.
In 2013, the institute officially became the Center for Analytics. Since then, the total number of student researchers has doubled to more than 100. Many of these students go on to serve as staff within the CFA while others go on to serve in the fields of national security, policy research, and data science.