Targeted Violence on Campuses

October 14 2015

Prior Knowledge of Potential School-Based Violence: Information Students Learn May Prevent a Targeted Attack
View the Prior Knowledge of Potential School-Based Violence report.
While it is generally known that schools, colleges, and universities are considered safe places, acts of targeted violence such as active shooter incidents can and do occur. Campuses face unique challenges when planning for and responding to targeted violence due to location, population, and complex structures. Several targeted violence resources are compiled below to help in your efforts to ensure the safety and well being of your campus community.

The U.S. Secret Service and ED provide a publication on prevention, Prior Knowledge of Potential School-Based Violence: Information Students Learn May Prevent a Targeted Attack. This study explored how students with prior knowledge of attacks made decisions regarding what steps, if any, to take after learning about the information. It also sought to identify what might be done to encourage more students to share information they learn about potential targeted school-based violence with one or more adults.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Education (ED), and the U.S. Secret Service released the report, Campus Attacks: Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education. The study assessed 272 incidents of violence that affected institutions of higher education (IHE) in the United States between 1909 and 2008. The report offers perspectives on key aspects of targeted violence at IHEs and provides a preliminary look at the scope of the issue.

Also available from the FBI is A Study of Active Shooter Incidents in the United States between 2000 and 2013 (Blair & Schweit, 2014). This report provides federal, state, and local law enforcement with important data and insights into active shooter incidents, including those that occurred in educational settings, so they can better understand how to prevent, prepare for, and recover from targeted attacks.

To assist IHEs with developing emergency operations plans, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office of Safe and Healthy Students, and ED released the Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education. This guide provides IHEs with recommendations on how to develop plans for responding to, planning for, preventing, protecting against, mitigating the impact of, and recovering from emergencies.

The non-profit organization, VOICES of September 11th, helps communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from mass violence and disasters. The VOICES eBook, Preparing for After: How to help victims of mass violence, serves to “underscore the importance of pre-planning to both the short- and long-term outcomes; highlight limitations of the short-term response perspective; establish a case for a long-term model for emergency response and recovery services; and identify best practices for meeting victims’ needs.”

The Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) program was created in 2002 to address the need for active shooter response training for first responders. Their curriculum has become a national standard for response training. ALERRT courses are dynamic and scenario-based to help prepare those charged with responding to violent attacks. ALERRT’s Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) course was designed and built on the “Avoid, Deny, Defend” strategy, and provides guidance, strategies, and a proven plan for surviving an active shooter incident. Topics include the history and prevalence of active shooter events, the role of professional guardians, civilian response options, medical issues, and drills. In the coming months, the NCCPS will begin partnering with ALERRT to provide a limited amount of CRASE courses for campus and other law enforcement professionals. Further details will be provided soon.

Additional targeted violence resources can be accessed through the FBI’s Active Shooter Incidents and Department of Homeland Security’s Active Shooter Preparedness webpages.


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