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The signs listed below simply mean that a person appears to be troubled, and violence might be one of the possible outcomes of this distress. These signs are not necessarily predicable that a violent act will occur. Other warning signs may also exist. Consequently, this list should not be considered all-inclusive, and certain items and combinations may be far more indicative of a potential problem than others. Those who display these signs should be referred to appropriate agencies or individuals such as counselors, parents, law enforcement, and social, medical, and mental health services. When deciding whether and where to make referrals, one should consider applicable regulations concerning parental consent, confidentiality, and mandatory reporting requirements.

Warning Signs of Potential Violence

Has engaged in violent behavior in the past.
Has tantrums and uncontrollable angry outbursts abnormal for someone that age.
Continues exhibiting antisocial behaviors that began at an early age.
Forms and/or maintains friendships with others who have repeatedly engaged in problem behaviors.
Often engages in name-calling, cursing, or abusive language.
Has brought a weapon or has threatened to bring a weapon to school.
Consistently makes violent threats when angry.
Has a substance abuse problem.
Is frequently truant or has been suspended from school on multiple occasions.
Seems preoccupied with weapons or violence, especially that associated more with killing humans than with target practice or hunting.
Has few or no close friends despite having lived in the area for some time.
Has a sudden decrease in academic performance and/or interest in school activities.
Is abusive to animals.
Has too little parental supervision given the student's age and level of maturity.
Has been a victim of abuse or been neglected by parents/guardians.
Pays no attention to the feelings or rights of others.
Intimidates others.
Has been a victim of intimidation by others.
Dwells on perceived slights, rejection, or mistreatment by others; blames others for his/her problems and appears vengeful.
Seems to be preoccupied with TV shows, movies, video games, reading materials, or music that express violence.
Reflects excessive anger in writing projects.
Is involved in a gang or antisocial group.
Seems depressed/withdrawn or has exhibited severe mood or behavioral swings, which appear greater in magnitude, duration, or frequency than those typically experienced by students that age.
Expresses sadistic, violent, prejudicial, or intolerant attitudes.
Has threatened or actually attempted suicide or acts of unfashionable self-mutilation.
Source: Guide to Preventing and Responding to School Violence, International Association of Chiefs of Police

A person exhibiting some or all of these indicators, does not necessarily mean he or she will act out violent tendencies. Most will not. However, if a person exhibits some of the warning signs listed below, it may be prudent to intervene as quickly and directly as possible.

History of violent behavior
Interest in violent acts
Obsessed with weapons, gun magazines, or the discussion of weapons
Use various forms of intimidation on fellow employees
Obsesses with the job but has little involvement with coworkers
Makes unwanted romantic advances toward others
Exhibits paranoid behavior
Incapable of accepting criticism, holds grudges
Has marital, financial, and custody problems
Exhibits an undo interest in recent violent acts in the workplace
Has a history of testing the limits of rules, regulations and social norms
Has job related stress due to a termination or introduction of technology
Exhibits an extreme change in behavior or political or religious beliefs

Source: FBI National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime

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