Study Examines 'Targeted Violence' On U.S. College Campuses
Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education
A study released last week on the third anniversary of one of the United States' deadliest attacks on a college campus examines incidents of 'targeted violence' on U.S. college campuses during the past century.
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Focus of Study/Analysis
The Washington Post reports that the study, titled Campus Attacks: Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education, involved researching public records of 272 incidents of 'targeted violence' since the early 1900's. The study focuses on premeditated attacks and attacks that used potentially lethal force. Among other things, the study shows most attacks happen in April and October of any given year and are most often committed by males, ranging in age from 16 to 62. One-third of the attacks are related to intimate relationships. Retaliation was identified as the second leading cause of attacks, followed by romantic rejection and obsession. Weapons, other than guns and knives, were used. And, students were responsible for 45 percent of the attacks.
The report doesn't offer tips for colleges seeking to profile potential killers. Colleges awaiting such help "are going to be left wanting," Spodak said, although federal authorities might publish such guidance in the future. The analysis does identify patterns in past attacks that could steer colleges in assessing threats.
Threat assessment teams shouldn't limit themselves to campuses, the report says, because 20 percent of the violent incidents studied took place off campus. Communication with outside law enforcement authorities "is essential," it says.
Campus Attacks Study Joint Effort
This effort was implemented through the Secret Service’s National Threat Assessment Center, the Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools, and the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. The project drew from the Secret Service’s experience in studying threat assessment and the prevention of targeted violence; the Department of Education’s expertise in helping schools facilitate learning through the creation of safe environments for students, faculty, and staff; and, the FBI’s threat assessment and investigative expertise.
Campus Attacks: Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education can be downloaded from the World Wide Web at the United States Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center, United States Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (OSDFS), or the Federal Bureau of Investigation website.