What to Look For

Behaviors to look for

There are many behaviors and circumstances that may indicate an increasing risk for violence, significant disruption to others, or that a person is in need of assistance. The significance of any one behavior or circumstance is often difficult to determine. Therefore, the threat assessment process is designed to review the situation in context of all of the facts that can be known.  

These are examples of behaviors and circumstances that may serve as indicators of developing concerns. These examples are meant to help you identify potential concerns during your daily interactions with others. These examples are NOT all-inclusive and this information is not intended to be used as a checklist.

  • Anger/Aggression
    • Engaging in hostile, aggressive, abusive, intimidating, stalking, bullying or harassing behaviors towards others
    • Escalating anger or aggressive behavior
    • Inappropriate displays of aggressive attitude/temper
  • Impulsivity or Risk-Taking
    • Impulsivity: actions that, in context, appear to have been taken without usual care of forethought
    • Risk-taking: actions that show more than a usual disregard for significant negative consequences
  • Personal Changes
    • Amount of quality sleep: unusual sleep patterns or noticeable changes in sleep patterns
    • Quality of thinking or communication: indications of confused, irrational thought processes, or paranoia 
    • Substances:
      • Use of illicit drugs or use of prescription drugs: sudden and/or recent use or change in use of drugs, beyond social norms that interferes with the activities of daily life
      • Use or abuse of alcohol: sudden and/or recent use or change in use of alcohol; use beyond social norms that interferes with the activities of daily life
  • Threats
    • Direct communication of the intent to harm, that may be delivered in person or by other means (e.g., text, email, telephone, social media)
    • Communication to a third-party of the intent to harm another person or group
  • Violence
    • Aiding, facilitating, promoting or encouraging the commission of  violence
    • Attempts to cause physical harm to others
    • Identifying with or idolizing persons who have engaged in violence
    • Retaliating against others that report acts of violence
    • Violent media usage: more than usual or inappropriate interest in visual or auditory depictions of violence
  • Weapons
    • Change, escalation or contextually inappropriate firearms behavior, interest in or use of firearms that appears unusual given the individual’s background and experience with firearms
    • Possessing, brandishing or using a weapon that is contextually inappropriate for the situation
    • Writing about weapons or violence that would be inappropriate for the context
  • Other (behaviors that are coupled with one or more behaviors listed above)
    • Decreased ability to cope with change/hardship
    • Displaying significant decreased performance in work/academics
    • Radical fluctuation in mood/disposition
    • Significant changes in hygiene/appearance