Dr. Currie Myers

Written by Sheriff (Ret) Currie Myers, PhD, MBA

If there is anything, we can learn from the year 2020 is that when we collectively focus on one main threat, other threats that were once at the forefront of thought are not abated. In fact, these threats fester and grow.

It is imperative that we stay ever vigilant in these trying times. This pandemic is not the only threat to our children, our families, and our workforce. We must stay focused in various threat probabilities and never over-focus on just one, like COVID-19.

“What steps are you taking to mitigate the potential for unexpected violence?” “Are you prepared to address the realities of the violence that is a possible result?”

These are five major areas that are affecting people’s lives and perceptions that increase our threat levels that we need to be prepared for in public venues, offices, and schools:

  • Unemployment uncertainty
  • The increase escalation of mental illness
  • Unintended consequences of COVID sheltering in place
  • The impact of social isolation
  • The impact of domestic abuse
  • Importance of cognitive biases

All these factors, plus lax prosecution and political restrictions on enforcement have contribute greatly to an elevated risk concern for the safety and security of our citizens. There are consistent signs across the country that overall crime has made a significant jump during the pandemic. According to the FBI, the biggest increases has been in violent crime, particular murder, and aggravated assault.

As the threat level continues to increase, there are several opportunities for improvement that can be accomplished during this pandemic than can reduce your threat risks. School, corporate and manufacturing, and government executives need to understand the current crime trends and especially understand the society impact the pandemic has placed on our children. 99% of safety dollars are spent trying to keep intruders from coming into a building, but FBI Active Shooter Reports from 2000-2014 show that the biggest threats come from someone already inside the building. The report highlights that 94% of active shooters are current or former students or employees or someone with a relationship to a current or former student/employee and that 70.0% of the incidents occurred in either a commerce/business or educational environment (FBI, 2013). The report also indicates that 60% of the incidents ended before police even arrived on the scene.

This is the time to consider conducting a vulnerability/risk assessment and to consider these assessments as part of your annual planning. These assessments and scheduled training programs can help a school district to plan for the correct equipment purchases and to consider small redesigns throughout the campus to minimize casualties in the event of a mass critical incident, such as a shooting. The plan includes curved hallways to shorten a shooter’s line of sight, hidden wing walls to give students more places to hide, and an alarm and lockdown system, such as a SAFEDEFEND™ system.

It is imperative that we stay ever vigilant in these trying times. This pandemic is not the only threat to our children, our families, and our workforce. We must stay focused in various threat probabilities and never over-focus on just one, like COVID-19.

 

To obtain the full report produced by Dr. Currie Myers, you may reach him at currie@safedefend.com.