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.

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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