June 4, 2019
A recent survey of executives from Fortune 1000 companies revealed that a large majority of U.S. business leaders now rank active shooter threats as the top physical and the second overall security threat facing the workplace.
In its biennial report, Top Security Threats and Management Issues Facing Corporate America, Securitas USA found that more than 75 percent of the top threats identified are those that may be carried out by company insiders. With more than 82 percent of corporate CFOs expecting a recession, and increased layoffs by the end of 2020, the threat of more shootings by disgruntled employees is a possibility businesses increasingly worry about.
The top physical threat of an active shooter or assailant was followed by the concern for workplace violence prevention and response, with business continuity planning and organizational resilience ranking as the third-biggest security concern for business executives.
After 138 deaths in a combined 30 active shooter incidents in 2017—more than any other year in the past two decades—the physical security threats that face corporate America became a paramount concern across nearly all sectors including manufacturing/logistics, real estate and education.
“In the education market, the newly worded Active Shooter or Active Assault/Assailant Threats is ranked in first place after being tied for second place in 2016,” the report said.
As corporations confront the challenge of preparing for these threats, the general consensus is that there are fewer casualties when an attacker is confronted by either armed or unarmed citizens, according to Konrad Motyka, executive director for Campus Safety and Emergency Management for Mercy College.
“It is helpful for individuals to plan potential situations beforehand and create a mental “muscle memory” for what they might do in a life-threatening situation,” Motyka said. “While this may not be an enjoyable exercise, it is a sad fact that it is necessary in a world where the number of mass casualty incidents, if not necessarily their overall casualty levels, are increasing both exponentially and globally.”
Despite the growing reality that companies could be the target of malicious acts by a disgruntled employee, only 36 percent of organizations reported that their security managers will receive increased funding, while 51 percent reported that their security budgets will remain the same.
“The survey makes clear that major organizations view active shooters as a critical threat,” explained Securitas USA Chief Operating Officer, William Barthelemy. “We know from our interactions with clients and other industry executives that addressing this issue from all fronts and at all levels is an on-going priority in almost all organizations.
“While cybersecurity remains a top concern, there are threats to the safety of people and the security of buildings, equipment and other property that may cause considerable, long-lasting harm to an organization, affecting everything from productivity to business continuity. The reality is these threats can come from insiders, people typically not thought to be a primary threat.”