There is some question – and cautious optimism – regarding the role of video surveillance in preventing mass shootings. The question is whether it’s possible to identify a high-risk situation in advance and how video can help law enforcement resolve an incident faster and will less risk of death or injuries to themselves or other civilians.
The use of remote video monitoring in preventing domestic terror situations is growing. According to London-based IHS Markit, a data and information services company, schools are the largest market for video surveillance systems in the U.S., estimated at $450 million in 2018. Retailers who use video for theft prevention can also employ it in a shooting.
The usefulness of surveillance also depends on storing and managing the data acquired. For example, if a person considered at high risk of causing a disturbance is banned from the building, facial recognition can quickly identify them and prevent them from entering the building.
Video surveillance is only one factor in keeping people safe. If an employee or other individual has displayed behavior that could indicate they could pose a risk to others, they should be investigated further, and law enforcement notified. Factors to watch for include verbal threats, emails, mail or calls or even postings in social media or other public forums.
Companies like Paycom, an Oklahoma human resources technology company has created a formal threat assessment and response guide designed to protect its workers from disgruntled employees and other threats. Questions can range from any observed or reported personality changes, signs of mental health issues or a troubled personal life, confused thinking, drugs or alcohol abuse, a history of violence and whether or not they have access to firearms or other weapons.
This information can clarify what behaviors on-site guards and remote monitoring services should watch for. It also indicates specific individuals who may pose a threat and should not be permitted in the building and allows them to identify a severe threat and notify law enforcement faster.