The rapid rise in mass shooting incidents across the country can create a sense of fear in people’s minds that a shooting can occur anywhere at any time and there’s nothing anyone can do about it. This is absolutely not true. As a school administrator, property owner, or building manager, you can take steps to significantly decrease your location’s likelihood of being a target.
What Do We Know About Shooters?
The FBI produced a powerful document, A Study of Pre-Attack Behaviors of Active Shooters in the United States Between 2000 and 2013. From this in-depth review of all major attacks over this period, the FBI was able to identify specific demographics and common behaviors of mass shooters prior to an attack.
What did they learn? They learned that 94% of shooters were male and 64% were white. They learned that few shooters had adult convictions of violent crimes or abuse, but 62% had a history of acting in an abusive, harassing, or oppressive way (such as bullying or intimidation). Similarly, though only 25% had been diagnosed with mental illness, at least 62% had exhibited signs of mental illness that went untreated.
But perhaps the most critical piece of information the document discovered was that these men did not just snap – they planned their attacks in advance, and in some cases, far in advance. About 75% of shooters took between two weeks and two years to plan their attacks.
Shooters selected their targets, did surveillance, determined site access, studied schedules (especially if the shooter had particular victims in mind), evaluated the transportation and weaponry needed, considered the best method of attack to have the greatest effect, and more.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Buildings and Your People?
With this information, school administrators, building supervisors, and property owners can do much to prevent attacks and target-harden locations against attacks.
To “target-harden” means to strengthen the security of a building or location to reduce vulnerabilities and discourage targeting of that site for acts of violence. This can take many forms. At ZeroEyes, we recommend you do a complete risk assessment, with the help of your local law enforcement or a risk assessment specialist, to determine your location’s strengths and vulnerabilities. This thorough review should include security systems, physical barriers, technology, safety protocols, mass shooter emergency response plan in the event of an attack, and compliance.
Keep in mind that the best security systems and safety protocols are worthless if they are not followed by your people. An intended mass shooter only needs one vulnerability to slip in and wreak havoc. Do students at your school open the door for a nice grandfatherly-looking man who knocks? Do your employees enter through the employee entrance without badges being checked? Is your security guard watching your cameras at all times?
This last point is where ZeroEyes can help. Even with the best security, human error can occur. With ZeroEyes gun detection integrated with your existing security camera system, our AI gun detection software will alert you and first responders the instant a gun is detected. Your security guards could miss it, but we will not, saving precious seconds when every second counts. Mass shootings only last an average of 10 minutes. If you know immediately that a gun has made it onto your campus, you can instantly implement your emergency response plan, giving law enforcement the opportunity to neutralize the threat quickly, decreasing or possibly preventing casualties.
While you may not be able to entirely prevent a mass shooting, especially if a shooter is targeting specific victims, you can target-harden your facility, making a shooting less likely. And in the event that an attempted shooting occurs, have an emergency response plan prepared and have ZeroEyes to alert you and law enforcement immediately. Contact us to see how we can help you.