Workplace Violence Prevention

"A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work." --Colin Powell

Follow these tips to stay safer while you're working towards - or living - your dream.

Active Shooter: What You Can Do

While active shooter scenarios have become a reality for some, it is a possibility for every workplace. Learn tips below on how you can foresee the signs and even prepare for the worst.

Take the time learn the signs of someone displaying violent tendencies in the workplace. The following is a list of signs a potential offender may exhibit:
  • Does not handle stress well
  • Chronic complainer
  • Manipulative
  • Socially withdrawn
  • Lacks interpersonal skills
  • Has difficulty accepting criticism
  • Experiencing marital/family difficulties
  • Fascinated with guns/empowerment concept
  • Anti-management mindset
  • Boasts about "getting even" or is revengeful
  • The job is the core of his or her identity and h/she experiences
  • extreme emotional changes based on fluctuations in job status.
If you observe any of the following "red flags," or signs that someone may be on the verge of becoming violent in the workplace, contact the appropriate staff within your organization right away.
  • Any change that would trigger a feeling of helplessness and that
  • presents a lack of alternatives for a potential offender
  • Verbal threats
  • Physical or loud outbursts
  • Poor employee-supervisor relationship
  • Harboring grudges
  • Brings weapons
  • Depression and/or substance abuse
  • Withdrawal signs (change in appearance, taking personal
  • pictures down, reduced communication)
  • Atypical behavior (for example, an regular increase in tardiness)
  • Intimidates or threatens fellow coworkers or supervisors
  • Fund withdrawal from 401K or credit union
If you ever find yourself in an active shooter situation, first try to evacuate. If you are unable to do so, find a safe place to hide, turn off cell phones and remain as quiet as possible. As a last resort, take action and fight back against the shooter. When it is safe to do, call 9-1-1.

For additional training, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) online course, "IS 907 - Active Shooter: What Can You Do".

Read Active Shooter: How to Respond, a publication from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for information on profiling an active shooter, how to respond, and how to train your staff.

Safety in the Workplace

Regardless of the type of work you do, you can increase your safety in the workplace and the security for others by following these steps.

Take time to become familiar with the security, emergency and reporting procedures at your workplace. Know who is responsible for security and how to contact them in the case of an emergency.

Always keep valuable personal possessions out of sight in a locked drawer, file cabinet or closet.

Avoid working alone before or after normal business hours. If you must work late, have a friend, family member, on security personnel check on you periodically and escort you to your vehicle when you leave.

Pick Up on Litter Enforcement

Despite the strong correlation that exists between litter and crime in our communities, residents surveyed regionally responded that with regard to littering, they continue to litter because they did not believe there was a strong chance of getting caught. In response to this overwhelming response, law enforcement officers all over the region have partnered with the Alice Ferguson Foundation to enhance awareness and enforce litter and illegal dumping laws. The purpose of this partnership is to not only restore the integrity of our local watershed resources, but to improve the quality of our neighborhoods and economy while reducing crime across the region.

Send the message to potential intruders that you have an investment in your property or workplace and will defend it against crime by helping to keep the property litter free and well maintained.

Be a role model for your community and bring your neighbors on board. For more information on making your neighborhood a Trash Free Community, visit

Reporting Suspicious Activity Helps Keep Everyone Safer

Keep yourself, your loved ones, coworkers and neighbors safer by reporting suspicious activity and following these tips.

Whether you’re at home, out and about shopping, spending time with family and friends, or heading into work be aware of your surroundings at all times. If anything looks out of place, it probably is. Call the Police if you see any suspicious activity and then if you choose to, follow up with your community association.

Never hesitate to call 9-1-1 when someone’s life or property is in danger. Remember, it’s always better to report too soon than to report too late!

Request free training on how to observe and report suspicious activity in your community by calling the Manassas City Police Department at 703-257-8064.

Never hesitate to call 9-1-1 when someone’s life or property is in danger. Remember, it’s always better to report too soon than to report too late! To provide the Police with information unrelated to an emergency, call the Manassas City Police Department’s non-emergency number at 703-257-8000.

Take the time to report any suspicious activity you observe to the Virginia Fusion Center's Tip Line by calling 1-877-4VA-TIPS (1-877-482-8477). The Fusion Center keeps track of suspicious incidents that may seem unrelated to you but are part of a larger investigation.

Graffiti Is an Ugly Crime

Some surfaces such as fences or walls of businesses are more inviting to graffiti than others. You can help crack down on the graffiti in your workplace by addressing concerns about the surface and length of walls and fences, examining any gaps in lighting and natural surveillance in the area, and helping to increase enforcement.

Hide graffiti-prone walls behind defensive shrubbery such as rose or holly bushes.

Use anti-graffiti paint on surfaces to prevent paint from sticking or to allow for easy removal.

Report all graffiti you find to the Police (703-257-8000), take pictures, and remove it immediately. Repeat this process every time you find graffiti – not just the first time. Diligence pays off by sending a strong message to criminals that their graffiti will not be tolerated.

Learn more about The Problem of Graffiti as well as other topics by visiting the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) online.

VA Fusion Center Community Oriented Policing Services FEMA Department of Homeland Security