Types of Crime - Workplace Violence
percent reported homicides data
In 1999 the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) surveyed human resource professionals concerning violence in the workplace. Over half (57 percent) of those responding reported at least one violent incident between 1996 and 1999, an increase from the 48 percent of respondents who reported at least one violent incident in the workplace between 1994 and 1996.
Although violent attacks with firearms, knives, and other weapons receive the most media attention, they are rare in the workplace. Only 1 percent of the SHRM respondents reported shootings, and the same proportion reported stabbings. Verbal threats were the most frequently cited type of workplace violence (39 percent). Pushing and shoving (22 percent) and fistfights (13 percent) were the next most commonly reported incidents. Only 1 percent of respondents said that rape or sexual assault had occurred at work.
Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) gathers data about fatalities from job-related injuries, including homicides. According to the BLS, workplace homicides fell from 1,036 in 1995 to 639 in 2001. Firearms were used in 505 of the 2001 homicides. Males were victims (513) far more often than were females (126). (See Table 2.19.)
According to Workplace Violence: Issues in Response, published by the Critical Incident Response Group, National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA, there are certain factors that can "contribute to negativity and stress in the workplace, which in turn may precipitate problematic behavior." Among those factors are:
- Understaffing that leads to job overload.
- Frustrations arising from poorly defined job tasks.
- Downsizing or reorganization.
- Labor disputes and poor labor/management relations.
The Violence Prevention Center reported on the use of firearms in 65 high-profile shootings between 1963 and 2001. In 71 percent of incidents, a handgun was used, while
|Managerial and professional specialty occupations||185||162||149||200||184||156||132||117||141||120|
|Technical, sales, and administrative support jobs||353||404||426||381||332||305||239||197||235||203|
|Police and detectives||62||68||70||81||55||66||53||47||49||62|
|Farming, forestry, and fishing||15||11||17||20||18||10||19||19||14||11|
|Precision production, craft, and repair jobs||43||67||39||40||37||36||41||35||38||34|
|Operators, fabricators, and laborers||211||204||178||160||154||162||130||118||113||96|
|Agriculture, forestry, fishing||15||13||18||19||18||9||19||19||12||9|
|Transportation and public utilities||117||126||118||98||76||110||69||70||65||52|
|Eating and drinking places||145||145||135||121||135||109||69||95||91||93|
|Gasoline service stations||41||53||41||36||23||34||25||17||14||16|
|Finance, insurance, real estate||37||35||31||53||41||28||22||34||21||20|
|Detective and armored car services||23||32||49||27||29||21||18||17||16||21|
|Note: These data were collected through the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries conducted annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in cooperation with numerous federal, state, and local agencies. Data were compiled from various federal, state, and local administrative sources including death certificates, workers' compensation reports and claims, medical examiner reports, police reports, news reports, and reports to various regulatory agencies.|
|1Detail may not add to total because of the omission of miscellaneous categories.|
|2The workplace homicides that occurred as a result of the events of Sept. 11, 2001 are not included in this table.|
|3May include volunteers and other workers receiving compensation.|
|4Includes paid and unpaid family workers, and may include owners of incorporated businesses or members of partnerships.|
|5No data reported or data did not meet publication criteria specified by the source.|
|6Persons identified as Hispanic may be of any race; therefore detail will not add to total.|
|7Includes fatalities to workers employed by government agencies regardless of industry|
|SOURCE: "Table 3.135: Workplace Homicides by Victim Characteristics, Type of Event, and Selected Occupation and Industry," in Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics, 2002, U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, DC, 2003|
a shotgun or rifle was used in the remaining 29 percent of incidents. In over half of such shootings (62 percent), the handguns were acquired legally, and in 71 percent of incidents the rifles or shotguns were legal. From 1999 to 2001 there were 25 high-profile shootings in the United States, 12 of which occurred at workplaces and seven at schools.