Signs Before Active Threats in the Workplace

Signs Before Active Threats in the Workplace

Active shooters or active killers are unpredictable. Most shooters conceal their behaviors before their attack. Still, there are signs that are observable. However, they may not be what you’ll expect.

This article will explore how to identify signs of violent behavior. By identifying the “red flags,” we will be more prepared to handle unsafe situations.

Identify Signs of Violent Behavior

In a 2018 study by the FBI, they found that there’s no pronounced violent criminal activity in the majority of adult active shooters.

However, 41% have reported “concerning behaviors” to law enforcement. Contrary to popular belief, active shooters are not often isolated. A majority have significant in-person social interactions with at least one person within a year of the attack.

While the number that has reported concerning behaviors is small, the study has noted that active shooters have at least 4-5 concerning behaviors.

The most observed concerning behaviors that have been reported include:

  • Mental health struggles. Active shooters experienced 3 or more stressors in a year before an attack. It’s also noted they lack resilience and the ability to handle conflict and other challenges.
  • Interpersonal interactions. The majority of active shooters are motivated by a grievance. A grievance is a cause of the shooter’s distress or resentment. Their perception -not necessarily based on reality- of being wronged can affect how they interact with others.
  • Leakage. In the initial phase of a would-be active shooter, they may intentionally or unintentionally share their fantasy or desire to mass murder. When shared to an aware individual, that individual can intervene by reporting to the right authorities.
  • Quality of thinking or communication. An active shooter’s grievance preoccupies and distorts their thinking. So much so, that they may distance themselves from friends and colleagues.
  • A decline in work performance. When affected by stressors, it is often reflected in their work performance.
  • Aggressive behaviors. This includes threats, confrontations, mishandling of anger, physical aggression, and other inappropriate behaviors. These can escalate over time and should be reported.
  • Other behaviors. This can include drug/alcohol abuse, impulsivity, poor hygiene, and other concerning changes mentioned in the study.

Reporting Observed Signs for Early Intervention

While active shooters display 4-5 concerning behaviors, one must not wait to report them. Employees must be encouraged to report any concerning behaviors. By doing so, their supervisors are alerted to potential dangers. Steps can then be taken to lessen the risks.

However, as stated before, signs could be observed. But not often. Active shooters are unpredictable.

What should they do when employees find themselves into an active threat situation?

What to Do During an Active Threat

Identifying signs of violent behavior is crucial for early intervention. However, active threats can still be unexpected. Companies that are always looking ahead are preparing their people for unpredictable situations.

That’s why we have collaborated with Crisis Consultant Group to bring you Active Threat Response: What Everyone Should Know. In an interactive movie format, it helps your employees learn the best practices when faced with an active threat event.

This includes before, during, and after skills with:

  • Look, Listen, Tell (Early Warning ID)
  • Run, Hide, Fight (DHS Best Practices)
  • Breathe, Think, Act (Survival Mindset)
  • Stop the Bleed™ (DoD Standard)

You can experience its “sticky learning” for quick recall in the face of danger with this free demo.