Is terrorism preventable? The answer, sadly, is no. The drive and motivation of today’s terrorist combined with the almost unlimited target opportunities make terrorism a threat that is unlikely to go away. While terrorist attacks are not preventable, there are actions that can be taken to protect a specific facility, building or organization from a terrorist act.
Terrorist acts are criminal acts, differentiated only by motivation. While all criminal acts are not terrorist acts, all terrorist acts are criminal acts. As with any criminal, we can take steps to make a facility less attractive to a terrorist. Terrorism preparedness requires two actions: taking steps to harden a specific facility from a terrorist act, and taking steps to mitigate an act should it occur.
Terrorism prevention strategy addresses five specific issues. They are the identification of potential targets that will be catastrophic to the community and are likely to be attacked; the reduction of the value of the target to the terrorists; the reduction of the visibility of the targets; the reduction of access to the targets; and the increasing of guardianship of the targets. Target hardening and increased physical security measures reduce the value of the target to the terrorist by lessening the degree of damage that a terrorist can inflict.
There are many things that can be done to harden a target. Good access control makes it more difficult for a terrorist to gain entry to a facility to do harm. Explosion proof trash receptacles make placing a bomb more difficult, and helps to contain a blast if a bomb is placed in one. Good perimeter fencing discourages and physically delays unauthorized access. Closed circuit camera systems serve as a deterrent and provide evidence in the event of a crime.
Access control systems serve to restrict access to only those authorized to be there. Strictly controlling access significantly reduces the criminal risk by making the target less accessible to the criminal or terrorist. The degree of access control is directly related to the value of the target and the presumed threat. Access control can be as simple as a key and a lock (not very secure), or as sophisticated as the use of smart cards tied to biometric readers to positively identify the user prior to allowing access. Biometric systems currently on the market range from fingerprint identification to using the retina (the blood vessel pattern in the back of your eye) and the iris (the colored ring around your pupil) as a means of positively identifying the user. Other systems use the size and shape of your hand, or the pattern of the blood veins in your wrist as an identifier.
Explosion resistance is critical in the protection against terrorist acts. Bombs are a favorite of terrorists, and are frighteningly easy to build and place. Explosion resistance includes the use of security window film such as www.blastgard.com to protect glass, terrorists know that glass and bombs form a lethal combination. In addition, History shows that upwards of 80% of all bomb blast injuries are glass related in nature. Additional steps include the removal of all trash receptacles (a favorite placement of bombers), or the addition of trash receptacles specifically designed to contain a bomb blast.
Perimeter security is a core defensive measure. Simply put, a perimeter system serves to deter an entry, prevent an entry, or if neither of those options is successful, slow down an intruder sufficiently so that the likelihood of getting caught increases. Perimeter options include fencing, walls and barricades. Fencing may be chain link, or if aesthetics are an issue, bent metal or a variety of ornamental metal options. Depending on the risk, barbed wire or razor ribbon may be attached to the top. Realistically speaking, tests show that barbed wire and razor ribbon have very little effect on slowing an intruder’s climb, but the visual effect can be a huge deterrent. Depending on the threat present, there are a variety of vehicle barriers available to prevent cars and trucks from gaining unauthorized access to a facility.
As with other security devices, closed circuit camera systems offer a deterrent. In the event of an incident, recorded video provides a record of what occurred and possibly can be used as evidence in the apprehension and prosecution of the terrorists. The deterrent value is proactive while the prosecution value is a mitigation technique. As technology advances, the quality of closed circuit cameras greatly improves while physical camera size gets smaller. Advances in storage technology mean that more and more video can be stored, allowing for more cameras and a longer “keep” time.
Mitigation techniques include physical security measures, but also the creation of a good crisis management plan and a business continuity plan.
Terrorist targets are not random, yet choices can be influenced and a more attractive target can be chosen over a less attractive target. What makes a target attractive? Target suitability can be influenced by factors including value, inertia (the size and weight of an object), visibility and access. There is information to suggest that the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was not Timothy McVeigh’s first choice of a target, but it was the closest target to him that met his needs.
While nothing can prevent terrorism, steps can be taken to prevent terrorist attacks. Steps can be taken to harden a facility, lessen the attractiveness of a target and better prepare a facility to deal with an attack.
Mr. Jordan Frankel is one of the foremost experts in blast mitigation films. He is the founder of Global Security Experts, sole distributor for ShatterGARD fragment retention films. ShatterGARD products are trusted to protect the men and women of the U.S. military as well as the law enforcement community. For more information on how BlastGARD can help fortify your facility, visit www.shattergard.com or call 888-306-7998-14.
Article Source: Can You Be Prepared For an Act of Terrorism?