2023: What to Watch in the Threat Landscape

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Organizations faced a broad range of security challenges in 2022, from the rise of active and mass shooter incidents to continued concerns surrounding Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). These realities serve as important context for security professionals as we anticipate the threat spectrum for the year ahead. How can lessons of the past guide and help inform decision making and readiness? In this blog, we will examine three of today’s primary threats and highlight important considerations and solutions for preparedness.

  • January 15 | A man armed with a pistol took four people hostage during Sabbath service at a synagogue in Colleyville, TX. 
  • May 24 | Nineteen children and two teachers were killed in a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX.
  • July 17 | In a mall food court in Greenwood, IN, three people were killed and two injured by an active shooter.  
  • November 22 | A retail store supervisor opened fire in a break room killing six in Chesapeake, VA.
  • December 25 | Three incendiary devices were discovered in an attempted bombing of a Jehovah’s Witnesses worship hall in Thornton, CO.  

In speaking with thought leaders across MSA Security® and Allied Universal®, workplace violence emerged as a leading concern. Members of Allied Universal’s Risk Advisory and Consulting Services Division share their top takeaways for preventing and mitigating a potential workplace violence incident.

Lesson One: Preparedness is Rooted in Communication

Art F. Fierro, CISM, CPP, Vice President, Global Investigation Practice

While many large to mid-sized companies have sophisticated internal threat assessment teams, critical gaps often exist surrounding the communication and training within an organization. Employees at every level need to know how to be ambassadors of a company’s violence prevention program. We’ve all heard “see something, say something” but it is important to educate employees on the why and how of that mantra. It should be made clear to employees that reporting a colleague’s potential red flag behavior to management will be confidential and, most importantly, aid in facilitating any necessary and appropriate employee assistance.

Lesson Two: Utilize Intelligence for Preemptive Vetting

Sean Schuhriemen, Director, Intelligence Practice

Experienced analysts can monitor and analyze a broad range of social media data sources and millions of URLs in the index web to collect and evaluate data essential to the recruitment and vetting of employees. These integrity checks go a long way in providing an organization’s decision makers with the intelligence needed for more informed hiring. This intel should always be customized to the unique culture, priorities and objectives of an organization. As such, it serves as a first line of defense within a well-rounded and comprehensive security program directed at combatting workplace violence.

Lesson Three: Avoid the Ostrich Approach

Henry Miller, Risk Consultant, Security Consulting Practice

Too often, there is a hesitancy within organizations to effectively address the issue of workplace violence. The reasons are many and can include inexperience, liability concern, and an unwillingness to disrupt company culture or sacrifice operational productivity. This is a misstep that fails to recognize the value of preparedness from the top down within an organization. Additionally, under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, all employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm." Achieving this requires a thorough approach to evaluating security controls, employee policies and enforcement, and the overall readiness plan. Organizations must then actively engage all members of the organization in the training required in response to those findings.

Lesson 4: Ask for Assistance

Craig Matsumoto, Senior Vice President, Risk Advisory and Consulting Services

Organizations of every size are requesting assistance more frequently in response to the rising threat environment. There is value in partnering with a trusted expert to provide a fresh-eye assessment to develop, update, improve and even test an existing security plan. By seeking straightforward information on risk and consequence, prevention measures and mitigation strategies, an organization can adopt meaningful recommendations that lead to greater readiness. To learn more about how to mitigate the risk of violence in the workplace or schedule a consultation with one of our subject matter experts, contact us.