To help federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies better prevent, prepare for, respond to, and recover from tragic incidents such as the events at Sandy Hook Elementary, the FBI has released a study on active shooter incidents
The study reports that between 2000 and 2013, 160 active shooter incidents [ASIs] occurred in the US, and that incidents are on the rise.
According to Safe Havens International’s October 2014 newsletter
[PDF], “the study indicates that while more ASIs have occurred, no additional acts of violence actually took place.” This is because the FBI adapted the federal definition of the term “active shooter incidents” to include more than one perpetrator and events that occurred outside a building, “significantly affecting the results,” according to Safe Havens.
Regardless of how terms are defined and how data is interpreted, the threat of active shooter incidents is real—but it’s important to focus on prevention more than fear.
“Our research shows that the best defense against an Active Shooter can be to identify the violent offender before they begin the actual attack phase,” write Sonayia Shepherd, Stephen C. Satterly, Jr., Chris Dorn, and Phuong Nguyen in the October newsletter. “The research shows that the old adage ‘An ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure’ holds true when preparing for violence as well.”
Safe Havens recommends prevention measures such as multi-disciplinary threat assessments, educating staff on the warning signs of violence, and training all staff on the decisions that need to be made within the first moments of an ASI until law enforcement arrives. It also offers Staying Alive
, a book that outlines lifesaving techniques for responding to and recovering from threatening events, plus a DVD series, including:
As the FBI report stresses that “seeking to avoid these tragedies is clearly the best result,” Safe Havens reinforces that prevention is possible, and educates people in the critical components of how to stay safe.
To learn more, listen to the CPI podcast
with Safe Havens’ Michael Dorn and browse Safe Havens’ free supplemental videos
Also read Michael Dorn on the Fear Factor Versus Reality