The growing threat of mass shootings highlights the need for better security measures.
In just the second half of September, mass workplace shootings in Maryland, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania made national headlines, marking a low point in what has already been a tragic year for gun violence. With 262 mass shootings through the first 263 days of the year, 2018 has seen nearly one mass shooting per day. This comes on top of what has been a steady rise in gun violence over the past two decades: an FBI report on active shooter incidents found that the number of such episodes more than doubled between the year 2000 and 2015.
In light of these worrying trends — both in the long and the short term — the urgent need for improved physical security solutions has never been more apparent.
While the workplace shootings in Maryland, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania did not result in an exceptionally high number of casualties (especially relative to other major shootings this year), their occurrence within 3 days of each other makes them somewhat unusual even in 2018.
The first of the shootings took place in Middleton, WI, at the offices of the WTS Paradigm software company. An employee of less than a year shot and critically injured three of his coworkers before police responders shot and killed him.
Just three hours later at around 2 pm ET, a man opened fire in a Masontown, PA, courthouse. According to police reports, the gunman was facing charges related to a recent domestic violence arrest. Due for a hearing that afternoon, the gunman arrived at the courthouse and shot one police officer and three bystanders, seriously wounding all four people. Police in the building then opened fire on the gunman, who died at the scene. Police chief Dave Hromada estimated that “over 30 or 40” people may have died in the shooting if not for the officers’ quick action.
Fewer than 24 hours after the Masontown shooting, a disgruntled employee opened fire in a Rite Aid distribution center in Aberdeen, Maryland, killing three people and injuring three more before turning the gun on herself. Although the 26-year-old woman had struggled with mental health in the past, none of her prior problems were sufficiently severe to bar her from legally purchasing the handgun she used in the shooting.
According to a 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries, new legal restrictions on owning and buying guns tend to lead to a drop in gun violence. The review also suggested that no single policy can have a large effect on its own, but over time, a collection of gun restrictions can have a significant effect.
This review and others suggest that it will likely require a combination of increased restrictions and time before we begin to see any marked decrease in shooting-related casualties. In the meantime, there are steps that courthouses, schools, hospitals, and businesses can take to ensure the safety of the people in their care.
In this day and age, every business should be equipped with an active shooter response plan, and provide comprehensive training to all employees on the proper protocols to follow in the event of an active shooter situation.
Employers can also make use of technology to guard against active shooter threats. Surveillance cameras are an effective option that can significantly increase workplace safety and sometimes even stop crime before it occurs. Duress alarm systems can also help save lives: while calling 911 can attract the attention of a shooter, duress alarms can discreetly signal for help without endangering those in need of assistance.
At Turn-key Technologies (TTI), we have decades of experience deploying security systems in schools, courtrooms, public buildings and private workplaces to help keep them safe from the growing threat of mass shootings and gun violence.
Our TTI Guardian duress system is equipped with functions designed to mitigate the risk of active shooter scenarios, while our camera and surveillance systems provide maximum coverage to proactively deter crime.
Reach out today to learn how TTI’s physical security systems can help improve the safety and security of the worksites that need it most.
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