FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit Helped Thwart 148 Potential Mass Shootings in 2013

WASHINGTON — The FBI claims it has thwarted or prevented nearly 150 shootings and violent attacks in 2013 by directing potential gunmen toward mental health professionals.

The FBI’s Behavioral Threat Assessment Center, a division of the organization’s Behavioral Analysis Unit, has prevented 148 potential shootings and violent attacks from January to November of this year. The unit is staffed by FBI agents and analysts, the U.S. Capitol Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Explosives and a psychiatrist, the Star Tribune reports.

The unit has received as many as three new cases, which are referred by federal, state, local and campus law enforcement, schools, businesses and houses of worship, each week. Once the unit receives the case, local officials assess the threat the person of interest poses, and then recommends how to proceed. In some instances, the recommendation is to get the person access to mental health care.

Launched in 2010, the Behavioral Threat Assessment Center often operates as though mass shootings, such as the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre, are uncommon.

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