Workplace Homicides Up 50 Percent In The Last Year

An analysis of American workplaces notes a 50 percent rise in workplace homicides.

The massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school reinvigorated the dormant debate over gun control and how best to stop the gun violence in schools. Now, new research suggests that violence in the workplace also has jumped dramatically, with workplace killings up 50 percent in the past year alone.

That would make 2012 the "worst year in about 20 years" for workplace homicides, according to Dr. Larry Barton, president of the Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based American College, an expert in crisis management and violence in corporate America. In a previous interview with AOL Jobs, Barton said that his statistics are based on data he collects from his clients, which includes a roster of 40 Fortune 500 companies.

"Up until 2011, we had an average of two people killed at work every workday, so you could average it out to about 10 a week," Barton told the Houston-based Cypress Creek Mirror. The 50 percent increase in workplace homicides in 2012 is "stunning," Barton noted.

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The most recent government statistics on workplace homicides are from 2011, but these statistics have shown an opposite trend from what Barton notes. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, homicides in the workplace were on a steady decline from 2003 to 2011, from 632 to 458. (In 2011, the BLS changed how it measures workplace violence to adapt the metrics for the modern digital workplace, but that had little impact on homicide statistics.)

But Barton believes the recent uptick is due to the economic crisis, which has dragged on for too long.

%VIRTUAL-hiringNow-topCity%In speaking to AOL Jobs earlier this year, Barton said, "Many of us who thought the [economic downturn] was going to be a short-term hiccup, and so that gave us temporary comfort," he says. "But it has become an ulcer, and with a lot more anxiety about cutbacks, people wondering, 'Am I next?"

And so while "you would think people would lie low and do their work," Barton says "that's not the case, it seems people become more provocative."

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