The first question many people ask when starting to develop a workplace violence prevention program is, "how can we identify potentially violent individuals?" It is understandable that people want to know this -- and that "early warning signs" and "profiles" of potentially violent employees are in much of the literature on the subject of workplace violence. It would save time and solve problems if managers could figure out ahead of time what behaviors and personality traits are predictive of future violent actions. No one can predict human behavior and there is no "specific profile" of a potentially dangerous individual. However, indicators of increased risk of violent behavior are available. These indicators have been identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, Profiling and Behavioral Assessment Unit in its analysis of past incidents of workplace violence.
· Direct or veiled threats of harm;
· Intimidating, belligerent, harassing, bullying, or other inappropriate and aggressive behavior;
· Numerous conflicts with supervisors and other employees;
· Bringing a weapon to the workplace, brandishing a weapon in the workplace, making inappropriate references to guns, or fascination with weapons;
· Statements showing fascination with incidents of workplace violence, statements indicating approval of the use of violence to resolve a problem, or statements indicating identification with perpetrators of workplace homicides;
· Statements indicating desperation (over family, financial, and other personal problems) to the point of contemplating suicide;
· Drug/alcohol abuse; and
· Extreme changes in behaviors.
Each of these