Indicators of Potential Concern

There are various indicators of potential concern. However, exhibiting one or more of these characteristics or behaviors does not necessarily mean someone will become a threat or turn violent. The FBI has provided examples of personality characteristics and behaviors that may indicate a cause for concern (see below). This list is not meant to be all-inclusive or a checklist, nor should it be used to profile individuals. Personality characteristics and behaviors must always be examined in context.

Personality Characteristics and Behaviors*

  • Preoccupation with violence: boasts, predictions, and subtle threats; stories, essays, poems, and pictures; violent fantasies; interest in violent games, movies, and books
  • Depression; anger; impulsive and uncontrollable behavior
  • Poor coping skills
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Grudges; lack of resiliency
  • "Us against them" mentality; narcissism
  • Boastful about weapons; abusive language
  • Suicidal thoughts; wishes of death; desire to physically harm others
  • Delusions; hallucinations; bizarre thoughts
  • History of physical assault
  • Bullying (perpetrator or victim)
  • Substance abuse
  • Rebellion against authority
  • Isolation or withdrawal

*Adapted from Addressing School Violence, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin (May 2011)

If you have an emergency, call 911.