One key part of threat risk assessment is understanding the type of threat made. Until you do, it can be difficult to formulate the correct response. Typically, threats are either direct or veiled.
In either case, always take threats seriously. Threatening behavior can change suddenly and with no obvious cause.
A direct threat occurs when an individual directly and clearly makes a threat against another. “I’m going to hurt you” is a direct threat. Other direct threats may include directions such as “If you do not give me a promotion, I will make things difficult and you know I can.” A direct threat may also direct the threatened individual to keep quiet. These threats may be enforced by the presence of a weapon such as a small gun, a knife, a bomb, or even a common item such as glass bottles that could be broken and used to stab someone. In some cases the person will exhibit suicidal tendancies and be looking at ways to take other people with them.
Veiled or Indirect Threats
A veiled threat doesn’t include a direct threat or action. Instead, it insinuates that the threatening individual could cause harm to the person they’re threatening. A veiled threat may be made against the person’s loved ones or possessions. For example, a veiled threat could be something like “I know where you live” or “I know what school your kids go to.” There’s no specific direct threat being made, but the threatened individual understands that something bad could happen if they fail to do what the person wants and is designed to intimidate the person to deliver what the threatener is asking. These threats are equally serious and should never be ignored.
Stalking behavior is another form of threat that needs to be taken seriously and addressed as soon as possible. Some people make the mistake of assuming a stalker is not interested in harming the person they are stalking, but this may not be the case. As the stalker begins to degenerate mentally, the way they stalk can change over time. While they may not have seemed harmful before, they may later fall into a more violent mindset. They may determine that if they cannot have the person they are stalking, no one should.
If an employee is being stalked, the first step is to encourage them to cease all communication with the stalker. The company should take any and all steps necessary to ensure that the stalker has no direct access to the employee, and no information should be shared with the stalker. The employee may need to stay with a friend or at a hotel until the situation can be dealt with. Never assume a stalker will react rationally or normally, even if they have in the past. You cannot use a stalker’s past actions to predict their future ones because their ability to perceive reality may diminish over time.
Threats Against the Company Require Assessment as Well
Not all threats are made against individuals. Some threats, such as bomb threats, may be made against the company as a whole. These threats must always be taken seriously. Pipe bombs are a common threat, but they’re not the only type of bomb someone could use. A disgruntled employee who was fired may place a bomb in their computer or company phone before returning it. If someone has made bomb threats, we strongly urge the company to refuse any equipment they may return.
Extremist groups may also make bomb threats towards a company. This is actually more common than you may assume based on the media. That’s because many companies keep these threats out of the news. However, regardless of who made the threat or how likely you think the group will follow through with their threat, always take it seriously. If you fail to react and a bomb is placed in your office, mailbox, or other space, it can result in injury or death to your employees, customers, and others.
When should you reach out to a company like Infortal for armed protection services? You should bring in protection for your employees and customers as soon as you know someone is making threats.
You need to immediately schedule a threat risk assessment and discuss the need for armed protection. To do otherwise is to potentially put people in danger. Even if you have already terminated the employee in question, that doesn’t mean the threat is gone. They could return to threaten or attack employees or customers. They could leave a bomb or crash an event you’re hosting. If you’re having any major event following the termination of an employee who made threats, it’s also best to have additional armed security on hand.
If you ever have an employee who has made threats, don’t be afraid to reach out to Infortal to discuss armed protection or a threat risk assessment. Remember, you have a responsibility to protect your customers and employees. You need to take action. If you do not, it not only may affect your company’s reputation and employee morale, but it can also lead to legal action being taken against you for negligence should the situation become violent.
Any company, no matter the size, that has an employee who has made any type of threat needs to take that threat seriously.
You will need to immediately alert your local police department and file a report when necessary. It is important to take steps to have a full threat risk assessment completed. You may need additional armed security or in some serious cases a tactical police presence at your company. Remember that unarmed guards are often not able to intervene in active shooter situations due to their lack of training and the limitation to “Observe and Report” and not to intervene. If there is a threat to anyone’s safety on company property, you need to have fully trained, armed specialists there to address it.