Allied Universal Blog

Evolution in the Active Shooter Risk and Response

Posted 07/07/2017 by Steven M. Crimando

Workplace Violence Continuum
Active Shooter incidents are statistically rare, but devastating events (low probability-high consequence). They can be the end point of a long progression along the workplace violence continuum and should be integrated into the organization’s overall violence prevention posture.

OSHA historically classifies workplace violence into one of four categories which include:

  • Type I: Criminal Intent, wherein the violence is incidental to another crime such as robbery
  • Type II: Customer/Client/Patient where the violent person has a relationship with the business such as being a customer or client
  • Type III: Worker-on-Worker where the perpetrator of the violence is an employee or past employee of the business attacking current or past employees and
  • Type IV: Intimate Partner, where the perpetrator has no relationship with the business but has a personal relationship with the intended victim.

I believe, however, that current events suggest there is clearly a fifth type, ideological violence, in which terrorism comes to the workplace. Type V violence is directed at an organization, its people and/or property for ideological, religious or political reasons. Violence perpetrated by extremist environmental, animal rights and other value-driven groups may also fall within this category.

Type V violence may take the form of Hybrid Targeted Violence (HTV) defined as the use of violence, targeting a specific population, using multiple and multifaceted convention and unconventional weapons and tactics. The massacre at the Charlie Hebdo news outlet in Paris, France, is a powerful example of this intersection of terrorism and workplace violence as was the attack at the Armed Forces Recruiting offices in Chattanooga, Tenn.

How do these attacks differ from the more common active shooter incidents? These attacks feature well-trained, tactically competent perpetrators who are willing to die. They include multiple attackers working in small tactical units.

What are the benefits of this expanded typology that identifies Type V? By recognizing that there is an important intersection between workplace violence and terrorism, we understand that extremist-driven violence may be directed at a workplace. This allows for more inclusive training that includes specialized training to understand the warning signs of workplace violence including specific signs of terrorism and the various warning behaviors. The recognition of the role that ideology plays in workplace violence promotes a “force-multiplier” effect with more eyes and ears on the ground monitoring potential threats.

Employers need to align their workplace violence training with their overall emergency preparedness posture. Read more about the evolution of the active shooter.

For more info on active shooters, read the Allied Universal Fire Life Safety Training blog.

Steve CrimandoAbout the author:
Steven M. Crimando is a subject matter expert and trainer specialized in human factors/behavioral sciences in homeland and corporate security, anti-terrorism, violence prevention and intervention, emergency and disaster management. He is Principal of Behavioral Science Applications. He can be reached at

2 Comment(s)

  • Michael Kulka
    346 days ago
    Interesting read, and important information for employers everywhere.

  • William Clayton
    348 days ago
    Excellent article!


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