The FBI has recently released their report for what they deemed to be Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2018. When I teach Active Shooter and Workplace Violence Preparedness I caution individuals and organizational leadership on the numbers in these types of reports.
Each government 3 letter agency produces their own reports on this topic and each has their own definition or criteria for events. For example DHS considered the San Bernardino shooting as workplace violence thus it was not included in their Active Shooter statistics. When it comes to preparedness an Active Shooter event can be Workplace Violence and vise verse.
These same 3 letter agencies also have their own specific definitions of what they consider an Active Shooter to be. How they report or fail to report also has to do with locations, individuals involved, and other algorithms which they do not explain when they issue their final reports.
According to the website Gun Violence Archive in the year of 2018 there was a total of 340 events with 1347 injured and 373 that lost their lives. According to their website:
GVA uses a purely statistical threshold to define mass shooting based ONLY on the numeric value of 4 or more shot or killed, not including the shooter. GVA does not parse the definition to remove any subcategory of shooting. To that end we don’t exclude, set apart, caveat, or differentiate victims based upon the circumstances in which they were shot.
The criteria are simple…if four or more people are shot or killed in a single incident, not involving the shooter, that incident is categorized as a mass shooting based purely on that numerical threshold.
They go on to state:
Gun violence and crime incidents are collected/validated from 2,500 sources daily – incidents and their source data are found at the gunviolencearchive.org website.
22,000 Annual Suicides not included on Daily Summary Ledger
Further information can be found on their methodology at https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/methodology
I believe it is important to approach this subject with a broad and realist view. If an organization sees that according to the FBI only 27 incidents occurred in 2018 that organization may have a misleading impression of how big of an issue it really is.
While these reports are good resources, they should be seen as just that, a resource. I always say how and why is irrelevant when dealing with an Active Shooter. What I mean by that is did the attacker use a gun resulting in (X) number of killed and or injured? If the answer is yes then its an Active Shooter situation. The ideology, the who, what, why and where, doesn’t matter. The investigation after the incident is important and yes the who, what, why, and where should be answered to be better prepared in the future but should not be used as a reason to omit information.
Lastly I will take this one step further and pose this question. Why don’t they compile an Active Assailant report? In this day and age we have seen that Active Assailants use many other forms of weapons to include but not limited to, vehicles, bombs, and knives. A comprehensive report would provide a much better picture of what organizations and individuals should be preparing for.
Security Concepts Group’s (SCG) www.scg-pace.com provides one of the few workplace violence training and consulting solutions that targets the prevention of active assailant situations; while responding to and recovering from an incident is a crucial component of their programming, they also arm employees and managers with the reporting channels and knowledge required to proactively identify red flags and direct troubled individuals to employee assistance programs.
This goes above and beyond the boilerplate trainings local law enforcement provide, and more thoroughly meets emerging OSHA “duty of care” guidelines. SCG leverages more than a decade of assailant response experience in some of the most dangerous combat zones around the globe, applying this specialized knowledge to develop and deploy upfront vulnerability assessments, all the relevant medical training and certifications, and highly-practical in-person and eLearning content.
More can also be read in my book P.A.C.E. Active Shooter, Workplace Violence Preparedness