The Disheartening Reality: Alarming Statistics of Active Shooter Incidents in the Workplace


It’s no secret that mass shootings have been steadily on the rise in the United States. 

But what many people don’t realize is that roughly 80% of these shootings occur in the workplace. 

The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more people who are actively killing or trying to kill people in a popular area. The shooter(s) can use one firearm or more than one firearm. The “active” part of this phrase means that law enforcement and individual citizens could impact the overall outcome of the shooting depending on how they respond to the shooter. Essentially, this means that the shooting is still in progress 

As a manager, it is your responsibility to develop an active shooter response plan to protect your employees, yourself, and anyone else who is present at your workplace at the time of the active shooting.

This post will show you how. 

First, we’ll cover some of the most important active shooter statistics that you need to know. Then, we’ll discuss the right way to develop an active shooter plan that can save lives. 

Active Shooter Statistics

The average active shooter event lasts about 19 minutes, with an average law enforcement response time of about 3 minutes.

However, roughly 2/3 of active shooter incidents have already ended by the time law enforcement arrives on the scene. These active shooter statistics alone illustrate the necessity of having a strong active shooter response plan in place at your business. 

Acts of violence, including active shooters, are the third-leading cause of occupational fatalities within the United States. 

In 2018, the highest number of active shooter incidents in the United States took place in California, with Florida coming in second. 

According to data collected by Mother Jones, there have been four active shootings in the workplace in 2019 so far. They include the Virginia Beach shooting, with 12 fatalities, the Harry Pratt Warehouse shooting with 5 fatalities, a hotel bar shooting in Pennsylvania with 3 fatalities, and a shooting at SunTrust bank with 5 fatalities. 

While some of these shootings were random acts of violence, others happened because an employee was fired or seeking “revenge” on coworkers. 

In 2018, there were 340 mass shootings in total, and the vast majority of these shootings happened at a business or workplace. 

At-Risk Professions

It’s important to understand that some professions are at a greater risk than others when it comes to both active shooters and workplace violence in general. 

Transportation employees, especially cab drivers, have about a 60% higher risk of workplace violence than the national average. 

The nursing/hospital profession also carries an extremely high risk for active shooter incidents, especially if patients are mentally ill or have a history of being physically violent. 

If you work within a government agency or building, you’re also at a higher risk of an active shooting. 

Those who work in the education sector, within social assistance offices and the hospitality industry also need to be concerned about active shooters. If your business has large amounts of cash in the register, or if you work in a bank or currency exchange, you should also develop an active shooter response plan.

Understand that workplace shootings don’t always have to be carried out by a random individual (criminal intent.) They can also be committed by a customer or patient, a former or current employee, or someone with a relationship to one of your employees outside of the office (a spouse, ex-partner, or even child.) 

Potential Signs of Violence

Though it’s not always possible to identify a potential shooter, there are a few things you should look for that may foreshadow a violent act. 

Remember to treat threats of violence just as seriously as you would actual violence in the workplace.

If someone threatens to bring a gun to the office, continually harasses one or more of your employees, or if they make gestures or throw objects at others, it’s time to take action

Mental illness is not always an indicator of violence to come, but if you feel as though someone in your office is continually acting erratic or fixating on extremist views, act now. 

The Benefits of Active Security Training

Developing an active shooter plan is absolutely essential no matter what line of work you’re involved with. 

Working with a professional security team will help you to learn the signs of a potential shooter, and help you to understand the behavior to look out for. It will also allow you to develop an effective line of reporting, so that employees can alert you to a potential problem without putting themselves or your company in legal hot water. 

You’ll also receive a threat/vulnerability assessment so that you can identify potential weak links in your office’s layout and any current security measures you have in place. 

You’ll also develop a run-hide-fight plan with your team so that everyone will understand their responsibilities in the event of an active shooter in your workspace. 

Above all, you and your team will have much better peace of mind, knowing that, if the worst does happen, you’ve prepared in the best way that you can. 

Now Is the Time to Develop an Active Shooter Plan

We hope these active shooter statistics have helped you to fully understand just how important it is to be proactive about security training in your workplace. 

Don’t wait until it’s too late to start thinking about how to identify potentially dangerous behavior and develop a response plan. Remember that violence in the workplace can happen to anyone, at any time. 

You owe your employees a sense of safety when they come into work every day. 

We can help to make that happen. 

Get in touch with us today to schedule your workplace violence and active shooter training.