Outlined here are some warning signs to become aware of and look out for. If you have concerns or observe any of these warning signs, they should be discussed with the Threat Specialists.
- Direct and indirect threats
- Verbalizing a violent plan
- Recurrent suicide threats or statements
- Verbal wishes to kill, be killed or die
- Threatens to bring weapon to school/work
- Brags about having weapons
- Threatening/harassing phone calls or e-mails
- Statements of hopelessness
- Bragging of violent behavior/fantasies
- Challenging or intimidating statements
- Excessive profanity (contextually inappropriate)
- Name calling or abusive language
- Persecutory delusions with self as victim
- Delusions in general
- Command hallucinations
- Grandiose delusions that involve power, control and/or destruction
- Significantly deteriorated thought processes
- Physical altercation/assault upon others – frequent fighting
- Inappropriate weapons possession or use
- Writings/drawings with intense violent themes
- Following/surveillance of targeted individuals
- Short fuse, loss of emotional control
- Bullying or victim of bullying
- Deteriorating physical appearance/self care
- Isolating and withdrawn
- Signs or history of substance abuse/dependence
- Signs of depression/severe mood swings
- Inappropriate displays of emotion
Permission to publish and information taken from:
"School Violence Threat Management - A Practical Guide for Educators, Law Enforcement, and Mental Health Professionals" -- Kris Mohandie, Ph.D. Published by Specialized Training Services (An imprint of Specialized Training Services, Inc.), 9606 Tierra Grande, Suite 105, San Diego, CA 92126
Copyright c 2000 by Specialized Training Services Updated March, 2002. Second Printing.
- Inform the police and your supervisor of the situation.
- Report all suspicious activity to the police.
- Be mentally prepared for an encounter; think to yourself if it happened here...how you would react, where could you go for help.
- Vary your daily routine, where you walk, when you leave, and where you park your car.
- Be vigilant when walking to your car, observe people hanging around the area.
- Consider having someone accompany you to your vehicle if you work late.
- Remove your name from your mailbox.
- Remove your name from your answering machine and your cell phone voicemail.
- Provide information to your neighbors (car/person description).
- Avoid walking/exercising alone (safety in numbers).
- Get an unlisted phone number with caller ID.
- Encourage others to keep your personal information confidential.
- Google yourself, see what information there is about you on the web.
- Advise family members of the situation.
- Install upgraded locks, an alarm system, and motion sensor lights.
- Have your car keys on the nightstand while you are asleep. If you hear someone breaking into your residence you can activate the panic alarm on the car.
- Trust your intuition and be aware of your surroundings.
- Consider taking a self-defense class.
- Keep any threatening or suspicious notes, mail, emails, and voice mails.
- Lock all your doors and windows.
- If your car or home have been broken into, leave the area immediately and call police.
- Do not unlock your car from a distance with the car remote.
- If you think someone is following you cross the street or find an open establishment; if scared, yell for help.
- Stick to well traveled and well lit areas.
- Let someone know when you are intending to leave and arrive.
- Know that you have the right not to be harassed and report it.
If you believe, you are in imminent danger find a safe place and dial 911. Be prepared to provide your location, perpetrator/vehicle description and direction of travel.
Suggestions for Addressing Potentially Violent Situations
It is beneficial to decide in advance how you will react during a confrontation. Some of the options available to you: call the police, comply with the demands, yell to draw attention/attract help, flee the scene, hide (lock door/turn off lights) or fight back if necessary remembering there is safety in numbers.
What to do if someone makes a threat of violence, refers to a weapon, or makes statements referring to campus shootings:
If it is a bomb threat:
On the Phone:
On the phone:
- Remain calm
- Remain professional
- Do not argue
- Do not insult or demean
- Try to remember detailed information about the call and caller: take notes. Call the police immediately once the conversation has ended.
- Advise your supervisor or the person in charge of the area/department.
In Person: Angry and Disruptive
- Remain as calm as possible
- Don't challenge the person
- Don’t take sides (listen, but remain neutral)
- Give them time to vent
- Be empathetic: “I see/hear that you are upset.” (Use sincere tone).
- Give a face saving exit (e.g., Let me see if I can find someone to help you.)
- Contact your supervisor/manager to assist you and then call the police.
In Person: (Weapon Present)
- Remain calm if possible: decisions are best made with a level head-again take that deep breath in through your nose (Stop and Think Method).
- Don't verbally challenge the person, listen, keep eye contact.
- If possible, notify others in the area.
- Immediately find safety for yourself and others.
- Call 911
- Give the dispatcher detailed information about the incident: what, when, and where did it happen, describe who is involved, and a description of persons involved: give the location and last known direction of the person making the threat.
Do not attempt to disarm an armed or dangerous person unless you feel it is your only option to save yourself and/or others. If this is your choice, then fight to win!
Please realize all situations are dynamic in nature and may vary calling for different responses.