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Targeted Violence Targeted Violence

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Physical Security School Security Personnel Violence Prevention

Prevent and mitigate targeted violence incidents.

Targeted violence refers to violence that is premeditated and directed at specific individuals, groups, or locations. Perpetrators select their targets to achieve specific motives, such as the resolution of a grievance or to make a political or ideological statement. Targeted violence is distinct from violence that is impulsive, random, or spontaneous and is often distinguished by pre-attack behaviors that suggest violence as a possible outcome. Those behaviors, if identified and addressed, can reduce the likelihood of a targeted violence incident at your school. The best practice for preventing targeted school violence is through the use of a multidisciplinary school threat assessment team, comprised of school staff tasked to identify, assess, and intervene with students who may pose a risk of harm to themselves or others.

Schools can work to prepare for potential acts of targeted violence by improving their campuses’ physical security and involving school personnel who are trained to prevent, recognize, and respond to threats of violence, as well as implementing other violence prevention strategies. Physical security measures can mitigate threats and reduce the amount of harm inflicted if incidents occur. Conducting a site assessment and developing building security plans can identify existing vulnerabilities and enhance overall school security.

Law enforcement, school resource officers (SRO), or security personnel can be invaluable resources to a school’s safety team because of their specialized knowledge in recognizing building security concerns and mitigating violent situations. SROs, who are typically sworn law enforcement officers, and school safety officers (SSO), who are typically non-sworn school security staff, have been trained to act as a first line of defense and respond to acts of violence. Their presence in schools allows them to build relationships with students that can prevent or mitigate school violence.

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All Targeted Violence Resources

The federal government identified additional resources that highlight strategies for school safety. Use these resources to learn more about targeted violence.

Grant
Targeted Violence
Justice Assistance Grant

Department of Justice

This grant provides critical funding to states, tribes and local governments to support a range of program areas related to criminal justice and safety.

Grant
Targeted Violence
COPS Hiring Program

Department of Justice, 2017

This program makes competitive awards open to all state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire/rehire officers to address specific focus areas, including funding for school resource officers.

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