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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 the procedures below, watch this video from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security with information on how to respond to an active shooter situation.

Before an incident occurs

Discuss with colleagues the plan you would enact in an incident (exits, sheltering in place, securing doors, assembly points, etc.) 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.

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