Türkiye’s tourism industry has been on a robust recovery path this year, putting the woes of the pandemic well behind. But as normalcy returns, we shouldn’t forget that terror threats were a real concern before the pandemic.
The horrific bomb attack at the heart of Istanbul has left six dead and many wounded. It was the deadliest attack that Türkiye has seen in several years. There is still not enough information on who is responsible for it and their motive, except reports of a woman who might have detonated the bomb. The authorities believe it could be a terror attack.
The whole incident is a stark reminder as we transition to normality after COVID-19. Türkiye’s tourism industry has been on a robust recovery path this year, putting the woes of the pandemic well behind. But as normalcy returns, we shouldn’t forget that terror threats were a real concern before the pandemic.
Security solutions that can counter terrorist attacks are, unfortunately, a necessity. For example, explosion-proof devices are essential if authorities are to stand a chance in quickly detecting what transpired and who is responsible. As drones increasingly become a security threat, anti-drone solutions are also important. Most importantly, this brings up the debate about the need for stricter surveillance in public places.
Can public surveillance help counterterrorism?
from Alois Stutzer and Michael Zehnder published in the journal Defence and Peace Economics in 2013 showed that camera surveillance as an instrument of counterterrorism rests on the premise of a deterrent effect that motivates potential terrorists to abstain from illegal activities when pursuing their goals. This would mean that public surveillance wasn’t an effective countermeasure to terrorism at that time.
But a closer look at some of the modern developments in surveillance solutions, especially within the sectors of artificial intelligence and analytics, would suggest that cameras can not only help in better investigation but also provide real-time alerts.
A 2019 report
from the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) points out that The implementation of smart surveillance or video content analysis (VCA), which uses complex algorithms detecting suspicious behavior in public places such as railway stations, identifying suspect packages on platforms, and even identify smoke, started. Once the system has identified a potential threat, it raises the alarm to a surveillance operator, who will be able to decide how to proceed without having to monitor hundreds of camera feeds.
Similar conviction has led to projects like the VICTORIA
(Video analysis for Investigation of Criminal and TerrORIst Activities), in which IDEMIA and its 13 partners aim to enable a switch from manual video analysis to automated processes. By April 2020, the consortium expected to deliver an ethical and legally-compliant video analysis platform (VAP) prototype that will considerably speed up video analysis.
Explosion-proof cameras not just for industrial use
Many physical security solution providers offer explosion-proof surveillance cameras, but customers often consider them for use in industrial or manufacturing settings. It is true that such environments are at a high risk of explosions, especially because these are areas where gases or vapors encounter ignition sources.
Jesper Olavi, Global Product Manager at Axis Communications, pointed out in a blog
that this is the reason several regulations that mandate the use of specific equipment that can withstand rugged conditions. In simple terms, explosion-protected cameras are enclosed in heavy-duty housing, usually made from stainless steel or aluminum, which removes the risk of any spark emitted by the camera that might cause an explosion.
But authorities can and should explore the possibility of extending the use of explosion-proof cameras to areas they may identify as high-risk. Places where crowds gather are often high-risk areas in many countries.
Drones or Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are increasingly becoming an easy option for terrorist attacks. According to a report
from the United Nations, while UAS clearly contribute to societies’ growth and development in many respects, they also open a world of new opportunities for terrorist purposes.
“These devices offer users increasing levels of accuracy and reliability, as well as easy integration of custom-made features,” the report said. “While overwhelmingly used for legitimate goals, they are also exploited for criminal and terrorist purposes.”
Anti-drone solutions that make use of various technologies have become a necessity in the fight against terrorism. Several companies offer these solutions now, relying on long-range detection and jamming technology.
An integrated approach
This is, by no means, an inclusive list of counterterrorist measures. An ideal security system should combine different solutions, from video surveillance, analytics, access control, drones, and even more niche tech like Radar and LiDAR to offer comprehensive protection to the public. Integrated solutions would play a crucial role in this segment as security forces can operate better with data collected from different sources while automated devices themselves can take the first step toward threat mitigation.