Understanding Threats and Harassment to Local Officials

BDI’s work on threats and harassment includes mixed-method approaches incorporating in-depth interviews, representative surveys, and a quantitative events dataset (THD). These projects together provide an empirical foundation to understand and respond to the threat and harassment landscape in US cities and towns. Our two-year research agenda will:

  • Elevate locally-driven solutions informed by those most impacted: BDI will continue to conduct trauma-informed, in-depth interviews on a quarterly basis. Regular public summaries will highlight officials’ stories and their responses to threats, to build a broad catalog of needs, resources, and solutions from the ground up.
  • Monitor trends in local threats and harassment across the country: BDI and CivicPulse, with input and support from the Brennan Center, are conducting quarterly representative surveys of local elected officials to understand better the scope, scale, and trends of threats and harassment over time. 
  • Maintain a longitudinal event dataset on specific threats and harassment: In close partnership with ADL, the Brennan Center, the National League of Cities, the Prosecution Project, and a growing list of collaborators, BDI kicked off a new national dataset documenting threats and harassment to local officials in 2022. Along with ongoing original data collection, we are proactively working to include new self-reported data such as data from the National League of Citiestool and other partners. 
  • Setting a strong policy foundation ahead of 2024: Getting the right data into the hands of communities and policymakers can drive research-informed interventions in advance of election season. BDI will continue to work with local officials, data partners, policy partners, and others to elevate proactive solutions in the run-up to the 2024 elections. 


[NEW] Threats and Harassment in Local Government
September 2023

Report | Research BriefPress Release | CivicPulse Project Page


In Their Own Words: Threats and Harassment Facing Local Officials
May 2023
ReportPress Release


Survey of Local Officials on Threats and Harassment
January 2023

Report | Findings Summary


Threats and Harassment Dataset
October 2022
Project Overview Paper | Press Release



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