Last year, the Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) released a pivotal retrospective delving into five years of mass violence spanning from 2016 to 2020. Based on nearly 175 mass casualty incidents, the comprehensive analysis brought to light consistent characteristics that underscore the critical importance of proactive training and preparedness measures, as advocated by The Power of Preparedness. For example:

-Workplace violence (WPV) is ubiquitous. More than half of these incidents (51%) took place in businesses, with dining establishments, retail locations, service industry venues, and manufacturing or distribution centers as primary targets.

-Incidents tend to end swiftly. Nearly 75% of the assault cases studied concluded in under 15 minutes, and close to half of those (38%) ended within a few minutes or even seconds. This reinforces the need to have a plan in place so individuals are prepared to act quickly and decisively.

-When threatening behavior is witnessed, individuals and communities should notify appropriate authorities immediately as every second counts.



–The Outsized Importance of Spotting Behavioral Indicators 

But beyond identifying trends, gaps, and best practices, the report can help increase awareness of warning signs and behavioral patterns allowing security leaders in all industries and organizations to mitigate risks before they turn deadly.

-In many cases, assailants had a prior association with the attack site.
-Most attackers exhibited behavior that sparked concern in their social group among family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or classmates.
-Many perpetrators were physically aggressive or had intimidated peers previously, and possessed some type of violent criminal record.
-Half were driven by grievance or perceived slights and acting in retaliation.
-A quarter of attackers were inspired by conspiracies, anti-government, anti-Semitic, or misogynistic views, and other hateful ideologies.
-Many assailants demonstrated mental health symptoms or experienced a stressful triggering event, like the loss of a job or loved one.
-Most attackers used firearms, with roughly a third prohibited from possession and more than half owners who legally purchased the weapon.

The findings underscore the necessity of comprehensive risk assessments, early intervention, and improved mental health support within business and public sectors. These kinds of proactive measures, and collective engagement can help fortify organizations and better protect individuals against mass violence.

With expertise including Run-Hide-Fight, active shooter preparedness and response, situational awareness, de-escalation techniques, and more, The Power of Preparedness provides critical guidance that can save lives. Contact us to learn more.