Claims Magazine Reprint

Condo Owner Reprint
August 28, 2023
Canada Security Reprint
August 28, 2023

Terrorism: Eight Ways to Increase Security, Reduce Liability

Related Story: Terrorism Risk Grows in the U.S. By Jeffrey A. Dingle

The possibility of terrorist acts occurring in the U.S. is increasing at an alarming rate. As recent as 10 years ago, terrorism was something that happened here. Relatively recent events involving bombings have changed our perspective on what our risk actually is.

There are several things, however, that can be done to reduce your risk of being a victim of terrorism.

  1. Recognize that any act of terrorism is simply a criminal act. Terrorist acts may include bombings, the threat of bombings, murders or other acts meant to intimidate. The only thing that differentiates terrorism from other criminal acts is political motivation. Any security program designed to provide a secure environment, regardless of how simple, will help to deter terrorism.
  2. Recognize that the threat is real. Bombings have recently occurred in Oklahoma City, New York City, Atlanta and, most recently, in North Carolina. The Unabomber’s campaign showed a wide geographic range, limited only by where the U.S. Postal Service delivers.

This fact was brought home recently to Tom Santamorena, president of TLS Service Bureau, an Atlanta-based firm that specializes in claims adjustment, insurance investigations and risk management. The building next to TLS, the Sanday Springs Professional Building was the target of a still unsolved Atlanta bombing. “We felt the blast,” Santamorena said. “The area outside of our office became a crime scene. Additionally, our building was shut down for five days during the investigation.”

  1. Assess your exposure. Identifying how effective your protection program is through a security survey has become an essential part of a risk management program. Whether it is done in-house or by outside professionals, a three-step evaluation is needed: (1) Identify where you are, including current security measures in place; (2) identify where you need to be, through risk and threat assessments; and (3) develop a plan to get from where you are to where you need to be. Santamorena adds that “much of our business ow comes from security surveys. Our clients are anxious to identify potential problems and take steps to prevent them before they occur.”
  1. Identify the threat against yourself. You may be a target because of what you do or are perceived to do, or because of a client that you represent. You may be at risk because you operate in certain countries. Or, as in Santamorena’s case, you may be at risk simply because of your location or because of the activities around you. Realistically consider what might make you a threat.
  1. Develop a reasonable program to meet your security needs. The security marketplace is full of products designed to provide an increased level of security, from access control and intrusion detection to closed-circuit television systems. Your security program may be highly visible, using the presence of security devices to deter a threat, or it may be low key. Products such as ShatterGard, a security window film designed to increase glass strength and eliminate flying glass can be installed quickly, with minimal intrusion.
  1. Implement your security plan. Most people do not handle sudden change well. An increase in your security program should be well planned and implemented in such a manner as to be the least disruptive and user friendly. Remember, as a general rule, the greater your level of security is, the greater inconvenience your tenants will experience. Changes do not have to be implemented all at once, gradual increases receive the greatest acceptance.
  1. Develop a comprehensive bomb threat management plan. Instructions on how to make bombs with common materials have become more available through catalogs and the Internet. The time to be concerned with a bomb threat is now. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, as well as your local fire and police agencies, can assist you in developing a working bomb threat management plan.
  1. Develop a comprehensive mail room security plan. Mail bombs constitute a real threat, but recent events concerning anthrax or threats of other dangerous substances being sent through the mail are also on the increase. Your mail room is a conduit for outside materials to enter your work space. The U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office or your own security professionals can assist you in determining what to look for and how to handle such a situation.

Don’t cry wolf, but also don’t leave yourself unprepared. The time to consider these eight steps is now before you actually have to deal with one of these issues.