One of my news feeds came across with a headline from Jamaica. It stated that the schools are experiencing lower rates of violence than in years past. Yet at the same time it is also seeing an increase in violence among students away from school campuses. Is there a correlation?
Jamaica has increased school security in the past few years, as have the United States and countries across this blue marble. Since we started tightening and getting serious about security in our businesses and schools (since the early 90s for businesses and Columbine in 1999) have seen a decrease in school violence but it is moving into the communities instead.
Therefore the question I asked above… Are we forcing violence away from schools, and consequently businesses, only to have it increase within our communities? While I’m talking mainly about school violence and workplace violence (SV/WPV) it should also be expected for domestic violence (DV).
But if we are forcing violence away from schools and businesses are we really doing our job in preventing it? If we are forcing it away from schools/businesses then is it moving into the community in an effort to get away from school and workplace violence (SV & WPV), and consequently security and possibly being caught?
As with many other problems we encounter within our society is it just possible that as security and business professionals have we done a better job or just shoved it to another site? We’ve done this for decades and centuries pushing problems to another area to get away from us and say we’ve done our jobs.
But who are we saving and ‘rescuing’ from the tragedy of SV/WPV? Are we just saving ourselves and businesses from embarrassment or lawsuits or are we truly making a difference in the greater community?
If the trend in Jamaica is true for the rest of the world then we are not taking care of our communities as we say we are. All we are doing is pushing our problems onto society at large. Therefore the community and not the business or school district (college and universities included) are avoiding the innumerable issues of violence.
Consequently it is pushing it into the communities and causing more upheaval there. All the while we say “Look at us we’re doing our part as a good neighbor! Buy from us! We’re community friendly!” The issues of counseling, policing, searching, and all of the other assorted costs of SV, WPV, DV are left to governments to remedy, which of course they can’t do until a comprehensive approach can be achieved by everyone.
But the key question remains, are we lowering violence, of all kinds, within our schools and businesses by tightening security? I would say, as a 33 year veteran of the security field that our efforts are paying the dividends as we intended. We are lowering rates of violence against students and employees, from most causes, tremendously.
Security professionals have been working diligently in attempting to find the right solutions to correct this growing phenomenon. Most of it may be cookie cutter based, which is not always the better option…, but it is working to lower the number of incidents. We could do more but that would put schools and businesses into the red nearly every single fiscal year.
Some of the solutions we have implemented have worked very well. Others…eh not so much. But the rate of harassment, vandalism, violence (of all kinds), bullying, and so on are on the decline across the nation. Even the number of weapons being found on school campuses is down except in a few large cities (those with the most restrictive firearm laws).
One thing to keep in mind with this, and yes it is kinda psychological, is that matter will flow to the easiest exit point. Hold a handful of water or sand. How fast does it drain out? If you grip it tight does it not find different more efficient ways to escape your grasp? Of course it does, as does all matter.
So then the question would be, why would violence against students, employees, customers, or anyone else within your campus or business be any different? If the ‘noose’ is tightening and stopping violence within the school and business it has to go somewhere, dudnit?
If it can’t happen in your business or on campus because of the tightening noose, did it just disappear? Or is it going someplace where it is less likely to be observed and escape from that noose? And of course these incidents are never reported because they never happened on grounds now did they!
Before any of us can look at the statistics of prevention when delivering our budgetary requests we need to look outside the property line and take notice of what is happening outside of the sequestered world of the campus or business. Are we doing all we can to prevent SV, WPV, or DV outside the business? What else can you do?
Of course your C-suite will tell you, with complete assurances from legal, that there is nothing else you can do to help the students or victims, including families. But I will tell you right here and now…they are absolutely 110% wrong! You can, and should, do more. However you can do it you should explore the options.
So what is it you should be doing? I have no clue. Now you’re gonna say “Well that certainly helps a lot!” But each and every situation will have subtle differences in what is happening. Therefore each and every situation calls for a unique solution. Which can only be answered by a professional who knows your region of the country.
Robert D. Sollars is a recognized expert on security issues, specifically workplace violence. He’s spent 33 years in the security field. Visit his Facebook page, One is too Many, where you will read about other items related to security & WPV issues. Or be a twitter follower at @robertsollars2.
I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear