Crisis Management Handling Disruptive or Violent Incidents

According to the Washington, DC-based online database, the Gun Violence Archive, a mass shooting is an incident in which four or more individuals are wounded or killed. In 2015 alone, the U.S. faced 372 such incidents, leaving 475 people dead and 1,870 injured. The shootings in San Bernardino, California and Colorado made national news, but the vast majority of such incidents are not so widely reported. That doesn't mean that they should be ignored, however—or that boards and managers in multifamily condo, co-op, and HOA communities can assume such a crisis couldn't happen in their building or association, no matter how safe and harmonious it might feel. 

Be Prepared 

Of course, given the country's large population, mass shootings are still a relatively rare occurrence—but so are building fires and earthquakes, and any board-management team worth their salt will still have emergency plans in place, should either of those events impact their community. Same goes for violent incidents, including 'active shooter' scenarios. 

“The good thing to say about the residential arena is that according to a recent FBI study, only about 4.4% of active shooter situations occur in residential environments,” says Bill Leap, vice president of Security Services with Chicago-based Titan Security Services. That said, some communities and their property managers are taking proactive steps to be prepared in case the worst happens, and their building or association is the site of a violent incident. 

“In society today, we see more and more of these active shooter situations, some on larger scales than others,” says Asa Sherwood, president of FirstService Residential in Illinois. “We felt it was our duty to put on a training program that would be valuable for our clients, managers, and engineering maintenance staff.” 

That’s why on January 27th of this year, FirstService Residential in Illinois held an active shooter seminar for property managers and clients. “It had been brought up a bit before Paris and San Bernardino, but those attacks pushed this to the forefront and we decided to do it now,” says Sherwood.


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  • Dear Mr. John Zurz I write to point out an error in your "Crisis Management" article in the June 2016 article in the Cooperator. Please see the Michael Bloomberg affiliated study for reference ( Federal law already mandates background checks for all transfers of weapons between persons who are residents of different states, regardless of state law. Both federal and Indiana law prohibit felons, and many others, from owning or possessing weapons. It is true that for some classes of persons Indiana does not require background checks, however purchasers from Chicago, Illinois, are not one of them. The study also clearly finds that weapons used in crime come from other jurisdictions primarily through straw purchasers who buy weapons in their own name on behalf of a criminal. About 46% of illegal weapons are straw purchased in the names of neighbors, girlfriends, drug addicts and family members--all persons local and known to criminals. Some are threatened, others bribed with drugs or cash by the gang members and drug dealers--often one and the same--who want weapons. No other source of weapons comes close. It is therefore false that a background check law within Indiana would prevent criminals from Chicago from obtaining weapons in Indiana. I'm sure you have your heart in the right place but we must accurately understand the nature of gun violence in America before we can proscribe any effective action, and as a journalist you are in a position to do a great service to your readers when you present the truth. Thank you. Sarah Hamilton NYC