Eyewitness News investigates mass violence crimes on college campuses. According to an FBI report, firearms are overwhelmingly the weapon of choice in deadly crimes, although a local security expert says he expects stabbings will increase.
A disturbing trend on college campuses; mass violence, typically involving mass shootings. But Wednesday, at UC Merced, the weapon of choice differed.
Security consultant Mike Spicer says, “It’s a scary situation when someone comes at you with a knife.”
Eyewitness News discovered an FBI report, detailing violent crimes that occurred on higher education campuses. It looked at 272 incidents from 1900 to 2008, which resulted in 281 deaths.
54% of the crimes involved firearms, while 21% involved knives or bladed weapons.
“People have an advantage in respect of a knife versus a gun. A gun is very quick and it goes right to the target,” says Spicer.
Spicer has an extensive background in campus safety and recently attended training which addressed not only active shooter situations, but stabbings as well.
‘It’s starting to come to light now, because anything can be used as a weapon,” says Spicer.
As pressure to keep guns out of the wrong hands grows, Spicer says he expects stabbings to increase.
“It’s very important to realize that knives are readily available. They’re in your house. They’re in your kitchen. You don’t have to show an ID to to get a knife.”
As for the training needed to defend against a person armed with a knife, Spicer says the response is no different than in an active shooter situation.
Spicer says, “Get out, call out, hide out.”
The FBI report also looked closely at the victims and suspects of college campus crimes. It found that 21% of victims were randomly targeted. In 31% of the cases, the suspects were identified by family, friends, and professors as having a change in behavior, including noticeable isolation or depression, paranoid thoughts and/or disciplinary problems at school.
Spicer says so often mass violence events are foreseen and could be stopped before they happen.
“A lot of times in these situations people see some type of behavior, some red flags and they don’t bring it to anyone’s attention,” says Spicer.
According to UC Merced’s crime statistics, since 2012, there have no arrests made for anyone possessing, carrying or using any kind of weapon on campus.