This figure is a significant drop from last year’s high volume of mass shootings. 2021 saw 693 mass shootings, according to the FBI (a 50% increase over 2020). Factors influencing this year-over-year increase may include an increased abundance of high-powered firearms and the popularization of technology that allows people to report crimes or attacks in real-time. COVID-19’s lockdowns also did little to curb the incidents, as 2021 also saw an emerging trend of “roving active shooters,” in which shooters attacked multiple locations in one day or several days.
While the volume of mass shootings has decreased, workplace violence remains a genuine threat for companies looking to protect employees. With millions of Americans ending remote work and returning to the office, it is more important than ever for businesses to take adequate workplace violence precautions bolstered by safety and training programs.
How are active shooters defined?
Because there is no technical definition for a mass shooting, active shooter statistics can vary wildly. Five major databases track active shooter incidents, each having its own definition. Depending on the database, reports for 2022 range between almost zero incidents and close to a thousand.
- The GVA and Mass Shooting Tracker broadly define mass shootings as incidents where guns are used to kill or injure four or more people.
- Everytown for Gun Safety defines mass shootings as four or more people killed—anywhere and with any motive.
- Mother Jones and The Violence Project have the most restrictive definitions, necessitating that the targets are random and that incidents must have at least three or four fatalities and occur in a public place.
Regardless of the database, it is clear that the United States experiences the most mass shootings in the world. Any company operating in America should be aware of the risk of an active shooter incident occurring at their workplace.
What do the latest active shooter statistics mean for employees?
Workplace incidents account for some of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. Two of the most infamous instances of the last decade include the horrific events at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 and the 22 fatalities at an El Paso Walmart in 2019. The reality for businesses is that their employees may face impossible situations while performing their duties.
While 26% of the American workforce is now permanently remote, the vast majority of employees in the U.S. are still physically present at offices, restaurants, and stores across the country. Due to the potential for workplace violence always around the corner, companies must prepare for the worst.
Implementing strong security measures
It is up to companies to adequately prepare their physical locations and employees to mitigate risks and keep everyone safe.
A few actions companies can take include:
- Preventative security: Performing adequate background checks and other monitoring methods can help bring awareness and identify potential risk factors before they come into effect.
- Reviewing technology: Knowing who is entering your building is one of the best ways to protect your organization. Companies that can implement comprehensive visitor technology systems should consider investing in checks such as license plate readers or badges that limit access to parts of the building.
- Mandatory training: Both employees and their managers should know how to respond in any situation, including active shooter incidents. Ensure your workers have attended training sessions about workplace violence and learn how to react appropriately.
- A flow of information: With the proper training, executives should be able to introduce an easy-to-follow methodology for employees to respond and report to potential threats as they arise.
Paramount to mitigating the risk of workplace gun violence is to have an active shooter response plan in place. Company leadership should work with local authorities and security experts to identify security weaknesses, train staff, and design a response plan.
Covering all the bases
With the risk of an active shooter incident always present, companies should consider an additional protective layer: a solid active shooter insurance policy.
McGowan Program Administrators is a leading provider of Active Shooter Insurance products nationwide. Our insurance provides coverage for medical and counseling death benefits, business income, liability protection, and extra expenses due to acts of workplace violence and deadly weapon attacks.