The U.S. Secret Service pioneered the field of threat assessment In the 1990s by conducting research on the targeting of public officials and public figures. The agency’s Threat Assessment Model offered law enforcement and others with public safety responsibilities a systematic and investigative approach to identify individuals who exhibit threatening or concerning behavior. Furthermore, this enabled teams to gather information to assess whether suspects posed a risk of harm, and allowed for the identification of appropriate interventions, resources, and support to manage that risk.
Today, workplace violence is a common topic. Incidents related to workplace violence are on the rise, and are continually being analyzed. Recent studies show that attackers are most frequently motivated by grievances related to a workplace or a domestic issue, and have previously indicated via negative speech or action that they may be a risk to themselves or others.
The best way to mediate this risk is to take action early, investigate when individuals voice concerns, and develop a security program to execute if need be. More than 75% of attackers have made threatening or concerning communications prior to conducting their attack. Similar statistics show that these attackers previously elicited concern from others, and most of the attackers studied had histories of criminal charges, mental health symptoms, and/or illicit substance use or abuse violations. These statistics suggest that a combination of thorough and routine background checks paired with proper internal investigative systems could reduce the risk of workplace violence, and could prevent the likelihood of an attacker succeeding with attack plans.
At Cooke and Associates, one of our specialties is listening to unique client needs and requests to collaborate with cross functional teams of internal employees and external security experts to develop custom security plans. Having a plan in place to evaluate employees who have elicited concern, as well as a plan to manage the safety of personnel in the case of an attack can be a matter of life or death. More than half of workplace violence attacks in 2018 ended within five minutes from when the incident was initiated. It doesn’t take much time to make a big impact, but a proper security protocol can help mitigate damage.