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Active Violence

An active violence incident involves an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. The individual may be armed with a firearm or bladed weapon or may in engage in other violent acts such as driving a vehicle into a crowd. There may or may not be a pattern or method to their selection of victims.

In addition to reading the procedures below, you are encouraged to watch this video that presents information on how to respond to an active shooter situation. Note: The following video contains violent content to educate and prepare someone to deal with an active aggressor.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Before an incident occurs

Discuss with colleagues the plan you would enact in an incident, such as exits, sheltering in place, securing doors, and assembly points. The phrase "Run, Hide, Fight ®" is a registered trademark of the City of Houston. Training concept is used by special permission.

When an incident occurs




What should I tell the 911 operator?

Don’t assume someone else is calling 911. If you have specific information and have made it out safely, call the police.

Calls to 911 from your cell phone will go to either the Chicago Police Department, Evanston Police Department, or Illinois State Police dispatch centers. Be sure to tell them you are on the campus of Northwestern University. Calls to 911 from campus phones go directly to the Northwestern University Police dispatch center (do not dial 7 to get an outside line). Texting 911 is also an option in both Chicago and the City of Evanston. Simply place “911” in the "To" line of your mobile phone and enter the details into the message field.

What should I expect when police officers arrive?

Can my group receive training on active shooter response?

Every residence hall, student organization, division and department at Northwestern is encouraged to contact the Department of Safety & Security for specific training on active violence response. Please email University Police at to schedule training.