Slide 11 – Statistics 
Most common was simple assaults; 1.5 million a year 
Aggravated assaults: 396,000
Rapes and sexual assaults: 51,000
Robberies: 84,000
Homicides: nearly 1,000

Simple assaults = 1,500,000
Aggravated assaults = 396,000
Rapes, sexual assaults = 51,000
Robberies = 84,000
Homicides = 1,000

Turns out that, as with the numbers related to workplace fatalities, work has become safer since 1996.  One happy difference; reported non-fatal violence has fallen by 75% instead of 50% for homicide.

“In 1993, the rate of nonfatal violence was 16 violent crimes per 1,000 employed persons while at work...”

“The rate of violent crime against employed persons has declined since 1993. In 2009, an estimated 4 violent crimes per 1,000 employed persons age 16 or older were committed while the victims were at work or on duty…” 

“In 2009, approximately 572,000 nonfatal violent crimes (rape/sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault) occurred against persons age 16 or older while they were at work or on duty…”

It's time to refresh the numbers we use to describe the problem.  Yes, the 2009 figures are four years old, but they're much fresher than the 17 year old stats we've been aging since 1996.

Still, some security professionals: 

"maintain that both forms of violence (work and school) are on the increase" 

Despite the fact that a cursory stroll through the weeds of statistics on the topic demonstrates that workplace violence is down by all reported measures.

Would you have guessed that schools are much safer places for our kids to be than anywhere else in the community?  When we look at homicides of American children ages 5-18 digging into the weeds of data shows us that school is by far the safest place our kids spend their time and that the rate has been flat for at least two decades.  

"Generally, homicides in schools comprised less than 2% of all homicides of youth ages 5 to 18."  

Some security professionals propose,  

"I mean, shouldn't it be as simple as, 'Let's make our schools (and workplaces) safer tomorrow than they were yesterday' and what would that look like? We need to do A, B, C...etc...and then we do it."

Except that there are trade-offs - operational, financial, legal, political, cultural - that must be made to reduce the ability of persons to do violence to students or employees. The purpose of school is to help students learn as much as they can from what can be offered. The purpose of business is to produce products or provide services at a profit. Pursuing ever increasing safety at any cost, and immediately, calls for sacrifices that must be evaluated in relation to these priorities. I hope we can all agree that suicide at work - the only form of workplace violence that is actually trending upward - should be reduced. What trade-offs should our employers or our clients be willing to make to reduce the rate? Will we accept nothing less than zero incidents for this or other categories of violent death at work before we apply any resources to other safety issues, security concerns, or business priorities? No, priorities will be applied and trade-offs made (and yes, security and safety professionals should get it all in writing). 

Some security professionals recommend,  

"I think it requires security professionals to see beyond any hysteria (often created by media and politicians after the high-profile incidents) and be the 'voice of reason'" 

I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately, the news media have eyeballs to capture and politicians have elections to win, so they cannot be counted on to always do the right thing for right reason.  I remain most concerned that many in the security profession do a poor job of understanding and explaining violence at work.

Workplace Violence...  Perhaps we in the public and private protection professions need to dis-aggregate this loaded and frequently misused term. Perhaps if Americans knew that 1/3 of all violent death in the workplace is self-inflicted the taboo of untreated depression and the importance of affordable mental health care would get their fair share of attention. Perhaps if Americans knew that 1/3 of all violent workplace deaths are the result of street crime – rather than crazed coworkers – we could reduce the amount of hysteria generated by this often overheated topic.