This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)
Following the upsurge in terrorist attacks worldwide during the recent years and its unique characteristics, security organizations have been employing new methods and enhancing forces in order to secure the centers of the cities.
In New York, following the terror truck attack in Tribeca, unprecedented measures were deployed during the New York City marathon, with the most sand trucks and blocker vehicles ever deployed and double the number of NYPD observation teams from past years, as officials have announced.
NYPD Chief of Department Carlos Gomez outlined the security measures to nbcnewyork.com before the event: “There will be counter-sniper teams from Emergency Services Unit throughout the boroughs, and more heavy weapons teams throughout the city. Officers will be stationed along the route, many of them in plainclothes and mixing in with the crowds”. Additionally, it was planned that K-9 units would be moving along the route, and aviation patrols would be surveying rooftops from the air.
In Sweden, Infrastructure Minister Tomas Eneroth plans to introduce digital ‘geo-fences’ in major urban areas across the country next year. The move is aimed at preventing attacks that use vehicles. “The technology is there, but it hasn’t been tested on a large scale,” said Eneroth. Stockholm suffered a terrorist attack in April in which a stolen van was used to run over pedestrians along a busy street in the shopping district, five people were killed and 14 were injured. Since then, there has been a spate of similar attacks in Nice, Berlin, London, Charlottesville and New York. According to rt.com, Swedish authorities have now focused on ways to improve security. Increased surveillance and heightened controls at major public events have already been implemented, as well as the construction of physical barriers.
The additional concrete lion statues reportedly weigh three times as much as the current versions and, while not designed to act as a wall, will reduce the top speed potential attackers can reach in future, by forcing them to swerve.
Other major urban areas in Sweden are lagging behind, however. In Gothenburg, no such concrete barriers have yet been erected, with the city’s transport authority due to present plans for their construction in December. Meanwhile, in Malmo, authorities are opting for temporary structures that will be erected only during major events. However, in light of the truck attack in Manhattan, there’s a belief that concrete barriers are insufficient to protect civilians, as the attacker targeted a bicycle lane before aiming for pedestrians.
“What we would need is a system where no heavy vehicles can drive in the city center without a regulation of their speed,” Eneroth explained. “Then, if a truck drove too quickly or in an area where driving is forbidden, it would be stopped.”