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ERIC Number: ED509235
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Apr
Pages: 40
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Campus Attacks: Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Education
Drysdale, Diana A.; Modzeleski, William; Simons, Andre B.
US Department of Homeland Security
On the third anniversary of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department of Education and the Federal Bureau of Investigation released this study of targeted violence incidents on U.S. campuses of higher learning. The three entities wanted to know how the prevalence of the incidents of targeted violence affect institutions of higher education (IHEs), who the perpetrators are, and whether they are affiliated with the affected IHE. Presented herein are preliminary findings from a review of 272 incidents of violence that affected IHEs in the United States from 1900 through 2008. The report provides an overview of these incidents and the involved subjects, discusses initial observations regarding behaviors of the subjects, and offers preliminary considerations regarding the data that may have relevance to threat assessment. It also identifies factors that may have motivated or triggered the attacks. The report cautions the reader to avoid drawing broad-based conclusions. Several of the key elements explored included the attackers' intent with regard to target selection, interpersonal relationships, personal stressors, and triggering events. Each of these elements seemingly played a significant role in the offenders' decision to commit an act of violence. In nearly three-quarters of the captured incidents, the offender appeared to have targeted one or more specifically named individuals. Only in a small percentage of the cases was there some indication that random persons were also targeted along with specific individuals. Hence, understanding what leads an offender to exclusively target random individuals remains a complex and difficult challenge. While the participating agencies are aware of the limitations of an open-source descriptive review, this preliminary effort will be complemented by a more in-depth study to be conducted by the Department of Education and the FBI. Appended are: IHE Definitions; Additional Examples of Incidents; and Definitions of Incident Categories. (Contains 7 tables, 4 figures, and 40 footnotes.)
US Department of Homeland Security. Washington, DC 20528. Tel: 202-282-8000; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: United States Secret Service; Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools (ED); Federal Bureau of Investigation
Identifiers - Location: United States; Virginia