Warning Behaviors

UVA Culbreth Hall at night

Although no profile exists, warning signs may precede violent or threatening behavior. Warning behaviors include but are not limited to the following: 

  • Making direct or veiled threats of violence
  • Having hostile and sustained grievances
  • Increasingly erratic, desperate, or aggressive behaviors
  • Identifying with violent individuals, ideologies, or events
  • Preparatory actions for a violent act including research, planning, and/or acquiring & practicing with weapons
  • Communications to third parties about a desire or intention to be violent
  • Statements that violence is justified because of one's grievance
  • Non-compliance with restrictions, boundaries, or laws
  • Increasing preoccupation with a person or a cause
  • Dehumanizing people of a differing identity group
  • Persistent unwanted romantic pursuit
  • Recent or impending losses including employment, academic, relationship, financial, or status in conjunction with denial and/or limited coping mechanisms
  • A criminal or personal history suggestive of a propensity to use violence to project power and to control others
  • Statements about desires to die, to kill oneself, or to be killed 
  • Unusual goodbyes or post death instructions