In 2021 thus far, there have been nearly 150 mass shootings in the United States. Although developing a response strategy is critical, it is equally important for organizations to have prevention strategies in place. Among other things, this requires an effective communication strategy, reliable tip reporting, and instant emergency alerting. These prevention features can all be provided by risk intelligence platforms.
Here, we discuss active assailant threats and the ways that risk intelligence platforms can facilitate incident prevention.
According to the US Department of Homeland Security, an active assailant is an individual that is attempting to or that is actively using deadly physical force on other people in a confined and/or populated area. This typically involves the use of a firearm or other weapon.
Active assailant incidents can develop and escalate incredibly quickly, so it’s crucial that organizations develop and deploy prevention strategies. This can include training employees to identify precursor behaviors, providing a means of reporting concerns, establishing active shooter response protocols, and deploying a mass communications system that can be used in the event of an incident.
According to the U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, 78 percent of targeted acts of violence involve observable early-warning insights. Facilitating suspicious behavior reporting is a key component of effective prevention.
Consider the recent incident in Atlanta, Georgia. A man arrived at a Publix Supermarket with a firearm and entered the bathroom. A customer saw the man and immediately alerted store security and the police, and the potential assailant was detained before the situation had a chance to escalate. This is an example of effective incident prevention.
Providing employees with a mobile risk intelligence platform makes reporting even faster and more reliable; employees can easily submit reports about suspicious persons, concerning behavior, or other relevant information. This also enables security teams to identify patterns of threats or identify developing situations, such as a suspicious person being spotted at a workplace on more than one occasion.
Employee tip submission provides security teams with essential risk information and allows them to surface early warning insights that can help prevent active assailant incidents.
Although incident prevention is the ultimate goal, sometimes active assailant events are unpredictable. In this situation, risk intelligence platforms can be used to minimize injuries and loss of life using mass communications, check-in functionality, and relevant resources.
For example, if an active shooter enters a workplace, the security team can immediately send an emergency notification to all employees informing them of the incident and advising them of next steps. Security can also send a check-in message that allows that users to indicate whether they are safe or in need of assistance. This can help law enforcement properly respond to the incident and identify at-risk employees.
In 2017, one Washington D.C.-based Vector Solutions client, Brookfield Properties, used LiveSafe to prevent property damage during the inauguration. As rioters flooded D.C, Brookfield was able to keep security team members informed and prepared. This helped them avoid officer injury and prevent hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage.
To address the threat of active assailants, organizations must have prevention plans in place. Risk intelligence platforms are an incredibly valuable tool, as they enable employees to report concerns so they can be immediately addressed before, during, and after incidents.
In addition to helping prevent and address low-risk, high-cost incidents such as active shooters, risk intelligence platforms can also be used for more routine communications, such as weather warnings, IT repair notices, and facilities hazards.
For more information about community-sourced risk intelligence and its role in incident prevention, read our recent white paper “Community-Sourced Risk Intelligence: Its Role and Value at Work.”