Checkboxes with mans finger selecting one


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.