Police are still investigating a small explosion at a military recruitment center in New York City.

But the news that caught my attention was a little closer to home.

When it comes to the risk of terrorist attacks, one researcher lists Charleston as number 3.

Walter Piegorsch, a University of Arizona researcher, created a new system to show American cities and their level of vulnerability to Bioterrorism.

His findings, of 132 cities, are based on factors like critical industries, ports, railroads and population.

Piegorsch is a former faculty member at USC, so he’s probably a little more familiar with Charleston than most researchers. His study rates cities by their level of risk for urban terrorism.

Piegorsch says terrorism vulnerability involves three dimensions of risk — social aspects, natural hazards and construction of the city and its infrastructure.

Last year’s Goose Creek arrest of two Egypt-born men for carrying explosive materials across state lines led us to spotlight potential terror targets in the Charleston area.

A coordinated attack here seems unlikely, but there’s still the threat of an individual inspired by organized terror groups acting alone, says Charleston County Sheriff Al Canon, who coordinates regional counter-terror measures.

“It doesn’t take very many and they can be very committed individuals,” he says.

The Goose Creek incident likely opened the eyes of local police and residents who assume that we aren’t a terror target.

“Some of it has to do with a mindset that this is a small pace and that it isn’t going to happen here,” Cannon says.

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