Averted School Violence Data Collection Platform

Project Summary 

The Averted School Violence (ASV) Data Collection Platform seeks to improve what we know about averted or prevented school attacks. The ASV Platform, developed with support from the COPS Office, allows law enforcement officers, school personnel, mental health professionals, and others involved in preventing an act of violence to share “close calls” in order to improve school safety and prevent tragedies.

Our mission is to encourage individuals to share their stories and lessons learned from averted school violence incidents in order to prevent future injuries and fatalities in educational institutions. The lessons learned can be used to inform future school policy and safety procedures. Sharing your story is an anonymous, secure, non-punitive, and confidential process.

We encourage individuals to submit averted school violence cases, in which loss of life and or injury were completely prevented. We will additionally analyze this data in comparison with incidents of school violence that were carried out: to identify similarities and differences between potential and actual shooters, situations, and effective/less effective preventative measures. We collect averted school violence incidents at all grade levels, from elementary schools to college and graduate programs. Incidents in our database include shootings, stabbings, and bombings that the attacker planned to carry out on school property. For the purposes of our database, we only collect cases that occurred in the United States after the Columbine tragedy.



The system enables schools, law enforcement agencies, and others involved in preventing acts of violence to input data on averted and completed school attacks, including various data points that may be useful to researchers and others who wish to identify lessons learned and effective practices. The database has been populated initially with primarily public domain sources in addition to some reports from law enforcement and school officials. The database currently contains over 100 incident reports of averted and completed acts of violence in US schools. With a deeper understanding of the dynamics, timing and evolution of these threats, those directly responsible for protecting the nation’s students will be better prepared to accomplish that critical responsibility.

To view the ASV website and report library, visit www.avertedschoolviolence.org.



A Comparison of Averted and Completed School Attacks from the Police Foundation Averted School Violence Database

A Preliminary Report on the Police Foundation’s Averted School Violence Database

ASV Project Fact Sheet

Lessons Learned from Averted Acts of School Violence, Campus Safety Magazine, Summer 2018

How Students Can Help SROs and Others Avert School Violence, NASRO Journal of School Safety, Summer 2018

How Schools Have Successfully Prevented Violence, Education Week, April 2018

Averted School Violence Project, Chief Dean Esserman (Ret.), 2018

Learning Lessons from Averted Acts of Violence in Schools, NASRO Journal of School Safety, Winter 2017


Funding & Collaboration

The Averted School Violence Data Collection Platform is being developed and implemented with the funding assistance of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).


Implications for Policy & Practice

There are few repositories of information on averted school attacks and completed school attacks. As a result, policymakers and practitioners lack valuable evidence-based insights that could guide their decisions and actions and increase the number of positive outcomes. Because school shootings themselves are relatively rare events, the universe of data on these episodes is small. Widening the area of focus to include averted school attacks would expand greatly the available information on these threats. Currently, no available data system exists that systematically collects information on these types of events.


Points of Contact

Frank Straub, Ph.D.
Director, Center for Mass Violence Response Studies
National Police Foundation

Dean Esserman, J.D.
Senior Counselor
National Police Foundation



School violence, schools, universities, colleges, mass violence, shootings, averted violence, averted attacks