Security and Safety Tips

Pre-Event Violence Planning: Indicators and Behaviors

In these unprecedented times it remains important to stay vigilant and if you see something, say something. This is a summary from a portion of the recent Federal Bureau of Investigation, Office of Private Sector, document “Multi-Agency Partners Collaborate to Mitigate Community Violence.”

The occurrence of a violent incident is generally represented as the culmination of a gradually escalating behavior pattern from a troubled person. Certain behaviors and actions can help when evaluating a threat of impending violent behavior. However, organizations should evaluate the totality of aggressive behavior, message delivery, and other relevant circumstances when forming a threat assessment or a notification to law enforcement.

Below are certain behaviors and actions that are common in pre-event violence planning:

  • Recent and significant grievance, injustice, personal loss, or humiliation; real or simply perceived.
  • Statements/behaviors which seem to indicate end of life planning or an interest in destructiveness.
  • Contextually inappropriate behavior, intense interest in previous violent attacks or mass shootings.
  • Sudden withdrawal from life patterns, absence from work without explanation, failing to appear for an appointment, cessation of medications.
  • Sudden onset of impulsive, reckless behaviors that may suggest desensitization, dehumanization, or a lack of concern for future consequences.
  • Fixation, pre-occupation, or efforts to physically approach an apparent target/victim; stalking, evidence of items left for the target (such as flowers), evidence of surveillance, or attempts to breach or circumvent protocol, safety or security measures.
  • Recent acts of experimental aggression, including trespass, animal cruelty, or vandalism.
  • Drastic changes in appearance such as a shaved head, a large number of tattoos, contextually inappropriate law enforcement or military costuming, sudden weight loss or gain, cessation of hygiene, or a sudden unkempt appearance.
  • Preparation of statement, leakage warning behavior to a third party, or farewell writings, including social media manifestos, or videos.

Additional Resources

United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Behavioral Analysis Unit. 2017 “Making Prevention a Reality.” A practical guide on assessing and managing the threat of targeted violence and contains concrete strategies to help communities prevent targeted violence. https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/making-prevention-a-reality.pdf/view

As always, if you “See Something, Say Something”. For life-threatening emergencies, call 911. To report suspicious activity, call 855-RPRT-2-S4 (855-777-8274).

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