A Crisis Threat Assessment: The Boy in the Bunker

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In January 2013, the FBI assisted local and state law enforcement and public safety agencies responding to one of the most complex hostage-barricade incidents in recent times in the United States. The Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) supported media, negotiations, and tactical operations during the crisis. This article examines the crisis threat assessment applied to this case. Crisis threat assessment involves ongoing, continually evolving behavioral threat assessment and management, conducted on a moment-by-moment basis in response to the confluence of offender and hostage behaviors, external factors, and public safety needs. Specific threat management strategies proposed during the incident are explained in detail within the context of the facts available to the BAU at the time. Considerations for future crisis events are offered based upon the authors’ experiences in this case.

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