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June 29, 2022

Can We Prevent Mass Shootings?

As unfortunate as it is, in today’s climate much of the responsibility of preventing shootings has come down to individual schools, businesses and people.

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As unfortunate as it is, in today’s climate much of the responsibility of preventing shootings has come down to individual schools, businesses and people. While we hope this won’t always be the case, it is important that companies and educational institutions understand the best practices for staying safe and preventing a tragedy. It may look different based on location, but there are some basic tips that can be followed to help negate risks.

Crowd Control

One way locations can help prevent crimes from taking place is to invest in technology along with other security measures to monitor who is coming and going. Cameras, as well as officers stationed at doors can not only document the people entering the building, but help to assess the threat they pose. While security culture can help spot suspicious activity, regular employees cannot be expected to see all possible threats. Monitoring entrance and exit points can be key to identifying and facing threats before they get too far into a building.

Security Culture

One of the most important things any business or other body can do to prevent a violent crime is to create a culture of trust and awareness. This means encouraging individuals that it’s okay to come forward on any suspicion, and that there will not be repercussions for reporting. Informing staff and students about anonymous reporting methods can be a good way to encourage this behavior as well, as there will be no fear of friends or peers finding out who reported.

Trained Officer

When these threats are reported, they should always go to a trained security officer hired by a campus or other location. Hoping that your employees can protect themselves is not enough. Security officers are highly trained individuals who are ready and able to physically protect others. It’s vital that companies vet all officers they consider hiring, and test their knowledge and skills to see how they will react under pressure.

Location Assessment 

As always, you need to assess your individual location and take into account the culture and structure of the place and people you’re protecting. In some cases, there may be nothing you can do to prevent a sick individual from committing a crime, which is where security systems and officers come into play. A combination of physical protection and preventatives is need to keep everyone as safe as possible.

It can also be valuable to consider the demographics of your location and how they may affect reporting. For instance, older students are less likely to report perceived threats than younger students, so an alternative reporting method may need to be implemented to encourage them. There is no simple formula that can be applied across the board, so it is important to create a custom plan for your location.

Available Resources

Another method of early shooting prevention is upping the resources available to students and staff. Does your company offer insurance that covers therapy? Are you providing staff and students with either experiences or locations where they can unwind to prevent burnout? Although we live in a society that favors grinding, it is no secret that pushing employees and students to their limit increases the risk of someone snapping. Showing individuals that you care enough about them to aid in their mental and physical needs not only breeds empathy and bonds workers and students, but it helps to keep people safe.

Establish Open Communication 

In keeping with both of the aforementioned prevention tools, it is crucial to ensure that each individual feels like they are being heard. Sometimes shooters feel as though they will only be noticed through violence.  If you have a robust HR team, suggestion boxes, faculty that takes students seriously and more, individuals are likely to find what they need before resorting to extremes.

As a security officer, your job is to take precautions, to be prepared and trained for situations like this. Taking the above steps will help you lower the chance of a mass shooting happening.

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