Today, I’m going to let you in on one of the best-kept secrets about the War on Terror.
U.S. intelligence agencies have an outstanding track record when it comes to stopping terrorist attacks in America. They have saved many lives thanks to their impressive array of counter-terrorism resources, which range from satellites and drones to computer experts and untold human sources around the world.
As terrorists have become more tech savvy, these agencies have added social media and cyber technology to their arsenal of weapons in this war’s cloak-and-dagger arena.
But most people don’t realize what a good job these agencies are doing because American newspapers are full of stories about attacks by “lone wolves” or small terrorist teams of twos or threes who have been inflamed by jihadist Web sites.
Tragically, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and Homeland Security cannot always root out these lone wolves or small teams – especially since they don’t always have real ties to large groups of radical fanatics. And they can’t even stop every threat from the large groups because our enemies are so relentless, resourceful and numerous. At the same time, you can’t count on your local police to prevent burglars, home invaders or robbers – let alone terrorists.
For example, a mobile active killer (MAK) is on campus. Or, a grassroots terrorist planted several pipe bombs around a shopping mall. In both cases, it was impossible for these attackers to succeed without leaving clues about their intentions – if only someone had noticed them.
Like it or not, we live in constant fear of unknown dangers, the shapeless threats that we can only imagine – until they strike. So today I want to teach you a time-tested concept for keeping you and your family safe from these shapeless nightmares.
|A mall security guard is more likely to rescue you from a terrorist than a police officer|
The concept – called “concentric rings of security” – has been used successfully by both the military and intelligence agencies. And I’ve updated the strategy for the 21st century by showing you how it works with mobile technology.
It is important that there are layers in your security plan so the weaknesses of one layer can be outweighed by the strengths of another layer.
The “concentric rings” concept requires that you draw imaginary circles around your property or your valued assets. This could be your home, your office, or your workplace, possibly at a university or business complex.
How many circles you draw will depend on the level of threats. Generally speaking, the more circles the better, but the number is normally restricted by things like money and manpower.
It is easy to add more circles as resources allow. But each circle must be clearly delineated. And each inner circle must be fully contained by the closest circle outside it – like an archery target. These concentric circles build in redundancy.
Let’s see how you apply this concept to a real-life scenario – like your home.
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If I were you, I would start by drawing my first circle, or the innermost circle, around my house. Then, I would draw my next circle around my yard. For example, I could place the circle’s edge at the street where it meets my driveway or the walkway to my door. Then I would draw a third circle about 300 meters (328 yards) outward from the second circle. To make planning easier, you may even want to make a sketch of the area to be protected and use this as your preliminary plan.
Now you’re ready to start arranging your layers of security within the concentric circles.
You may think your home is secure, but where in the routine will a criminal be detected?
Typically, on the home front you will allocate more manpower for the innermost circle, where access control is absolutely critical.
In an ideal world, you’ll make sure that your home has excellent locks, steel-reinforced doors, impact-resistant windows, a well-trained guard dog, a top-notch alarm system, and security cameras. You may even keep a firearm handy.
For the second circle, you can start by placing a fence around the edge of your yard. Or you can border the yard with a thorny hedge. Or both. You can also enhance the barrier with signs that say, “No Trespassing” and “No Soliciting.” You can even put up a “Beware of Dog” sign whether or not you even have a dog.
However, keep in mind that this outer ring represents a very powerful opportunity to detect danger before it breaches the inner circle to threaten your family. And this brings us to a new tool for countering this shapeless threat – mobile technology.
Mobile technology puts the power of detection, vigilance and mitigation in the hands of homeowners and shrinks the security gap so they can counter those shapeless threats.
Of course these days, if you want to use this technology, you usually need to get connected to a security company’s mobile monitoring plan. But the small investment may be worthwhile. The plan can give you peace of mind because the company can identify danger sooner and contact the authorities.
For another layer of security in the second ring, bond with your neighbors. Greet them whenever you see them outside. And try to engage them in conversations about their family. Invite them to your home for a barbecue or just to socialize on the patio. People who care about each other are more likely to watch out for each other.
Now it’s time to move on to the third, or outermost, ring.
Here, you can add a layer of security by forming a citizens’ Crime Watch. Most police departments will help you organize such watchdog groups. A Crime Watch provides classes on how to prevent crime and how to spot telltale signs of criminal activity, like a strange car backed up to your neighbors’ garage while they are away. Some Crime Watches even field citizen patrols that call the cops whenever they see something or somebody suspicious.
Obviously not every person walking around your neighborhood is seeking to perpetrate violence. But you should teach your family and your neighbors how to recognize and avoid dangerous situations. And they should learn to avoid these situations and how to alert the cops while they warn neighbors and their family.
Another layer of security could be gated entrances, which may be manned or require pass codes. Or, you could erect a wall or a fence around your neighborhood.
Next, tell your local leaders that you want a squad car to pass through your neighborhood at least once a day. Police cars should also make regular stops at your kids’ school and your business. You pay your taxes, and you want to see them at work.
Going beyond the third ring, you should…etc. They should hire well-trained people and pay them well because their guards are more likely to face – and hopefully stop – a terrorist or other criminal than the police.
On the job, all of your employees should keep their eyes peeled for trouble. Your receptionists should become more than greeters. They should know the danger signs of not only a potential terrorist and an active shooter but also a violent disgruntled employee.
If past mass murders have shown us anything, it is that we cannot afford to simply hope for the best. We must prepare for the worst, using our mind, body, spirit and all the tools we can muster.
Until next time, stay alert, check your six, put your back against the wall and stay safe!
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