Searching for threats that are made with violent intent from the thousands of threats that are made everyday can often amount to searching for a needle in a haystack. Limited resources means that threat assessors must be able to identify the factors and warning signs of a potentially serious risk without escalating non-threatening concerns.

As domestic threats, frustration, and employment concerns have increased dramatically in the past year, targeted violence continues to be a major consideration when it comes to assessing and responding to threats. However, most threats are often empty, posing a difficult challenge for threat assessment teams.

Our CEO and co-founder, Lukas Quanstrom, and Dr. Stephen White, co-developer of the WAVR-21, discuss how to identify risk factors and important considerations for effective intervention when assessing those who pose a threat as part of Ontic’s webinar series.

Here are a few key points:

Gather information pertinent to the threat.
Potential data sources are invaluable to understanding the threat as well as the person. These data sources can range from coworkers, management, and even the individual themselves. Approaching these individuals must be done with careful considerations keeping in mind discretion and tone. Dr. Stephen White warns against involving law enforcement unless urgent, as this could lead to unintended, more hostile consequences.

Understand the pathways that lead to a credible threat.
Serious threats often have warning signs that show the person is willing to execute it. These are individuals who believe that violence is the only solution and have the means to carry out their threat. Employees who may have suffered cumulative losses and feel their future is hopeless after termination are much more likely to be willing to indulge their threats and engage in ex-employee backlash. Not only do threat assessment teams have to be aware of why someone would carry out their threat, they must also consider why someone would not. All factors must be taken into consideration when looking at the individual.

Deciding the best course of action for intervention.
At the end of the day, the goal is to reduce the risk of the threat and be able to move on. Teams must decide on how to monitor these individuals (passive, active), future strategies to refine information collection techniques, and conflict resolution strategies.

Sifting through pertinent information and crucial factors are the first step to mitigating potential threats before they are carried out. By keeping these warning signs in mind, teams can react proactively and maximize their resources to protect the security of everyone involved.

For more information on this topic, including in-depth analysis on identifying threats and factors, watch the complete webinar “How to Identify Those Who Pose a Threat From Those Who Make a Threat.”


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