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Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention

Ending Campus Violence: New Approaches to Prevention. By Brian Van Brunt. Routledge;; 376 pages; $49.95.

This timely and comprehensive study of school and campus violence is expertly compiled into a multidisciplinary summary that is understandable for anyone involved with campus safety. The work focuses on understanding the behavioral warning signs associated with violence and aggression, as well as the strategies recommended for diverting people with these signs from the pathways leading to violence. Threat assessment teams are discussed in detail. While the book offers no original breakthroughs, it is an excellent summary of strategies currently used in the field.

The author makes a compelling argument that any meaningful impact on the prevention of school violence requires bringing together all of a school’s major departments: student affairs, academics, mental health, public safety, administration, and more. To support his points, the author relates virtually every concept to a published work or an actual event. This makes any additional information remarkably easy to obtain straight from the original source. Although placing references directly into the text gives the book the feel of a research paper, the author’s use of real-world examples, anecdotes, and everyday language keeps everything readable and understandable.

One fascinating chapter summarizes almost a hundred incidents of actual and planned mass violence across the world. This chapter lists dates, names, casualties, and key points of interest for each event. The summary is often referred to, especially early in the book, by specific incident number so concepts are linked immediately to actual events.

By far the most important part of this work is the chapter on case studies. This chapter presents 10 cases with identifiable locations and real names removed. Each case study is followed by an essay from experts in nine campus-related disciplines. These show the reader what other colleagues might focus on in incidents ranging from stalking to relationship violence, mental illness, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The case studies are well written and relevant, pulled from incidents common on campus. This chapter alone makes the book worth the price for any serious campus security practitioner.

This work can serve as a foundation for administrators and practitioners across a campus because it provides a strong background on aggression and violent behavior, along with the tools and strategies for intervention from a multidisciplinary perspective. Seasoned experts will also find it useful to see how their counterparts from other departments may view these issues.

Reviewer: Yan Byalik, CPP, is the Top Guard Security Manager for Tidewater Community College. He is the treasurer of the ASIS Hampton Roads Chapter.