Spotting Warning Signs of Violence in Adults

Here are a few warning signs of violence public safety officials should look out for in adults.

The 2014 Campus Safety Conference session titled “The Warning Signs of Violence” discussed the type of warning signs should campus officials should look out for in students and how they should address such behavior before it escalates into emergencies.

During the session, Stephen C. Satterly, Jr., director of transportation and school safety, CSC Southern Hancock County, who gave the presentation, also shared warning signs adults exhibit that public safety officials should look out for. They include:

Level 1: Intimidation

  • Refusal to cooperate with an immediate supervisor
  • Spreads harmful gossip and rumors throughout the workplace
  • Consistently argues with co-workers
  • Uses foul language on a consistent basis
  • Makes unwanted sexual comments

Satterly noted that when performing a behavioral analysis on a Level 1 individual, it is important to see if the person has displayed this type of behavior regularly or if the change in attitude recently occurred.

“You’re looking at changes in behavior after an emotional event, which is called a trigger,” Satterly explained. “So, if a person has been OK and the all of a sudden he starts showing these signs, that indicates that something has happened, and they are having problems dealing with it.”

Level 2: Escalation

  • Increasingly argues with others
  • Refusal to obey company or campus policies and procedures
  • Likely to sabotage equipment and steal property for revenge
  • Verbalizes wishes to harm others often
  • Exhibits a “me versus them” mentality

If a co-worker, or parent, displays this behavior, it is important not to brush it off, as if the person is blowing off steam. Rather, this type of conduct can lead to the next level of behavioral analysis.

Level 3: Impending Violence

  • Frequent displays of anger, resulting in recurrent, suicidal threats
  • Starts physical fights
  • Destroys property
  • Uses weapons to harm others

If you have noticed behavior similar to those mentioned above in coworkers or parents, how did you address the situation? Leave your comments below.


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