Assessing Active Shooter Risks at Education Facilities
Schools have long been bastions of enlightenment and safety for children and young adults across the country. However, a disturbing trend has arisen in the past 10 to 15 years that has unfortunately made educational institutions, and the people studying, working and visiting these facilities, a prime target for active shooter incidents.
Brokers and agents writing policies for schools and other educational institutions must work with these clients to ensure that administrators and staff are taking all the necessary precautions to avoid any instances of active shooters and have policies in place for responding to one if and when it does happen.
The sad reality about active shooters at schools
In 2013, Everytown Research began tracking gunfire in schools and at college and universities – and over the next three years identified qualifying incidents, including fatal and nonfatal assaults, suicides, and unintentional shootings. Between 2013-15 Everytown identified 160 school shootings across 38 states. Nearly 53 percent of the identified shootings took place at K-12 schools, and 47 percent took place on college or university campuses.
In 95 incidents – over half – the perpetrator(s) intentionally injured or killed at least one other person with a gun. In eight of those incidents, the shooter then shot and killed him or herself; in 20 separate incidents, the shooter attempted or completed suicide without first attacking someone else. Twelve shootings were purely unintentional in nature, and in 33 other incidents, a gun was discharged but no one was injured.
To put things on perspective, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security between 2000 and 2013, a total of 160 active shooter incidents took place throughout the country.
DHS noted that according to research conducted by the U.S. Secret Service in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education, individuals who would go on to cause an active shooting event engaged in the following pre-incident activity:
- 31 percent of the subjects exhibited concerning behavior, including, but not limited to, delusional statements, paranoid ideas, depressed moods, suicidal ideation, nonspecific acts of violence, increased isolation and an interest in or acquisition of weapons.
- 19 percent of the cases involved the subject engaged harassing behavior or stalking before the attack.
- 13 percent of the cases involved the shooter making an written and/or verbal threat prior to the incident happening.
- 10 percent of the cases had the subject enact in physically aggressive acts, such as brandishing weapons aggressively, physical assaults or violence toward the intended targets.
As this data implies, more often than not, there are no early-warning signs that might indicate that an individual may cause an active shooter incident to…