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Technology a reliable partner in prediction

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Technology is increasingly being used in efforts to mitigate and respond to active-assailant exposures.

Looking to the internet for signs of behaviors that could be a prelude to someone acting out has been made easier and more effective through the use of tools and technology, according to sources.

“There are tools out there that allow you to crawl through the data,” looking for relevant words, names and other information, said Harry Rhulen, Denver-based president of Novume Solutions Inc. and founder of Firestorm Solutions, a crisis management firm owned by Novume.

An organization, company, or other group should be aware of its online presence.

“It’s important to understand company executives’ posture on social media,” said Nicholas Smith, practice leader for the security risk consulting business of Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. in New York.

“Social media intelligence — what I like to call social media protective intelligence — is one of the few innovative and creative industry tools of the last five to 10 years that jumped out at me, and I thought was a huge step forward,” he said.

Technology can also be a part of a company’s or organization’s efforts to report and track incidents of troubling behavior. Firestorm has developed a tool using texting as the mechanism for the anonymous reporting with a company or organization, according to Mr. Rhulen.

Communication has also become more robust.

“We have electronic resources,” said Scott Murphy, retired superintendent of the Littleton Public School District in Colorado, who was in his position during a shooting incident at Arapahoe High School in December 2013. “We can engage people very quickly, both to get information to them and from them. The ability of organizers to communicate quickly and outside the normal media chain has been extremely helpful.”