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  • Writer's pictureInstitute Staff

New Findings - Examining 173 Mass Attacks from 2016 to 2020.

Ensuring you have the latest information to keep your programs as safe and secure as possible is an important priority for us. Recently, members of the Institute for Childhood Preparedness attended a briefing by the US Secret Service. The briefing contained the latest information from 173 mass attacks that occurred from 2016 to 2020. The briefing and supplemental report provides insight into who is committing these attacks, the underlying motives and how we can better prepare for future dangers.



Key findings include:

  • Most of the attackers had exhibited behavior that elicited concern in family members, friends, neighbors, classmates, co-workers, and others, and in many cases, those individuals feared for the safety of themselves or others.

  • Many attackers had a history of physically aggressive or intimidating behaviors, evidenced by prior violent criminal arrests/charges, domestic violence, or other acts of violence toward others.

  • Half of the attackers were motivated by grievances, and were retaliating for perceived wrongs related to personal, domestic, or workplace issues.

  • Most of the attackers used firearms, and many of those firearms were possessed illegally at the time of the attack.

  • One-quarter of the attackers subscribed to a belief system involving conspiracies or hateful ideologies, including antigovernment, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic views.

  • Many attackers experienced stressful events across various life domains, including family/romantic relationships, personal issues, employment, and legal issues. In some of these cases, attackers experienced a specific triggering event prior to perpetrating the attack.

  • Over half of the attackers experienced mental health symptoms prior to or at the time of their attacks, including depression, psychotic symptoms, and suicidal thoughts.

These new findings underscore the importance of "see something, say something" and provide insights into how attackers think and act when they are planning an attack.


It is important to note that while these findings are insightful, there is still no profile for the type of person who will commit an attack.


Help ensure your facility is as safe, secure and prepared as possible - take advantage of the many offerings from the Institute for Childhood Preparedness today. Our most popular offerings include:

  • Active shooter preparedness training

  • Site safety and security assessments

  • Situational awareness training

  • Home visiting safety training

  • De-escalation training

  • The Safety Spotlight Professional Learning Community

Reach out today to learn more about our offerings and how we can help your organization. Simply fill out this FORM and someone from the Institute will be in touch soon.


You can also check out the full Secret Service report by clicking this link.


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