The increase in urban attacks has placed pressure on security providers to come up with innovative solutions

As Urban Threats Evolve, So Do Security Measures

The increase in urban attacks has placed pressure on security providers to come up with innovative solutions

Threats to public safety, in the eyes of the public at least, were seen as something which happened on foreign shores. Yet, the mind-set of ‘it won’t happen to me’ is slowly changing, as the threat level rises, and an increasing number of attacks take place across a range of environments – whether it’s in an airport, trains station, stadium, restaurant or student campus.

The increase in urban attacks of late has placed pressure on security providers to come up with innovative solutions which allow the public to go about their lives as normal, with an element of peace of mind that their security and welfare is being protected.

With wide-ranging motives, campuses in particular, could be exposed to a variety of threats from terrorism. Yet, defining this term is hard to do, with many governments and departments placing a different meaning on the term ‘terrorism’. However, many share the same view in that terrorism is an act which is designed to instil fear by using force and violence.

As the debate continues as to whether we now accept it as part of our daily lives, one thing is clear; threats have evolved and taken on new tactics and in a move to perhaps challenge our preconceptions over how terrorist activity plays out.

For example, a vehicle being used as weapons is something that has only increased over the past year. With the attack in Nice, France which killed 84 people in July 2016, one of the largest attacks on the West which used a vehicle. Since then, similar incidents have occurred in Berlin, Stockholm, London and most recently, Barcelona, which all used a vehicle to inflict harm.

The change in tactic from terrorists has meant that many current security methods currently in place have become outdated, often exposing great vulnerabilities in public safety, which attackers are exploiting.

While a large number of vehicle attacks have been claimed by extremist groups, they have also inspired ‘lone wolf’ attackers to carry out similar offences

The rise of the ‘lone wolf’, , is posing new challenges for security professionals who are charged with securing areas where the public gather. If such incidents are to be stopped, then a proactive and preventative approach is required.

Campuses are particularly susceptible to attack, as they are vulnerable to terrorism from those with wide-ranging motives. The Ohio State University attacker was, according to reports, inspired by an extremist group in 2016, while the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, which killed 32 students, saw the shooter claim in a video that was mailed to NBC News he was ‘forced into a corner’.

With the increase in threat level and change in method of attack in mind, perimeter security has had to evolve in order to ensure that is providing the highest levels of security to students and those who work in the institutions.

While there is no guarantee which can be made about safety, perimeter security provides an increased level of protection and can mitigate the risk which is currently associated with today’s urban threats.

Security barriers which were previously used on military bases and oil and gas fields, have become popular among those seeking to secure their premises – whether it’s an event venue or campus – and these barriers are able to mitigate the impact of vehicle attacks as well as deter other threats such as those wishing to gain unauthorised access.

Video cameras and security guards are often standard practice, yet as threats become more complex, the preventative methods have had to evolve too. With those protecting civilian areas, which are deemed high-risk, looking at additional methods and procedures to prevent attacks, or reduce their impact if they do occur.

Perimeter security is one area which has seen great advancements and innovation, with installing security barriers becoming increasingly standard practice when protecting areas of critical infrastructure and places where large volumes of the public are present.

With solutions, such as TERRABLOCK, able to withstand speeds of up to 50mph, as well as using an anti-climb mesh, they provide protection from vehicles, and individuals who pose a threat or wish to cause damage. Flat-packed and earth-filled, TERRABLOCK can be constructed rapidly, and taken down if no longer required – providing a suitable temporary solution for large-scale events on campus or for more long-term perimeter protection at entry and exit points.

With new threats preventing themselves every day, the reactionary measures we have seen in some cities and organizations is not enough.

Precautionary measures are essential in today’s environment, and as solutions become increasingly accessible and advanced, they are a much needed investment that institutions should have in place as standard practice.

Digital Edition

  • Campus Security & Life Safety Magazine - May June 2021

    May / June 2021


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