The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Lifestyles

September 25, 2013

Why shopping malls are attractive targets for terrorists

WASHINGTON — The scale of the terrorist siege at Nairobi's Westgate Mall, which now appears to have finally ended after four days, may have been unprecedented. But the notion of shopping centers as tempting targets for terrorist attacks is hardly new.

A 2006 analysis from the Rand Corporation warned that, "in terms of their potential role as terrorist targets, shopping centers present numerous challenges for security." At the time, they reported that there had been over 60 terrorist attacks against shopping centers in 21 countries since 1998. There have been several reported international terrorist threats against malls in the United States over the years, though none have been carried out.

Obviously, any "soft target" where large crowds of people gather are going to be tempting for attackers. Malls "allow unimpeded access to the public and attract a wide cross-section of the nation's population," the Rand authors write. But they also suggest that the business model of malls makes the marginal cost of additional security measures extremely high and leads to most of them being relatively unprotected.

Shopping centers "differ markedly from facilities like airports, which provide an essential service with few alternatives," they write. "For this reason, shopping center customers and tenants may not tolerate the expense and inconvenience of increased security." There's also the fact that malls often have complex, multi-stakeholder ownership structures which "increases the difficulties of implementing security and other risk-reduction measures."

The authors say after a catastrophic attack, customers and businesses might become more tolerant of security measures like metal detectors, as they did with airports in the wake of 9/11. However, events have shown that even measures that the public wouldn't tolerate in most countries might not be enough to keep customers safe.

In the wake of a 2005 bombing outside the entrance to a shopping mall in Netanya, Israel in 2006, The New York Times noted that "Most shopping malls, stores, restaurants and other public buildings in Israel have guards and often metal detectors at the entrances," but unfortunately, "the checks also create lines, which sometimes become targets."

Again, the Nairobi attack was a unique case. The Westgate mall is a potent symbol of Kenya's rising middle class - in stark contrast to neighboring Somalia - and also attracts an international clientele. But it's definitely the first time such a place has been targeted, and assuming most countries aren't willing to turn malls into fortresses, it's probably not a threat that's going away.



 

1
Text Only
Lifestyles
  • Friend of the Fair Two honored as 'Friends' MORRISON, Ill. — The Whiteside County Fair recently announced its 2014 Friend of the Fair. Paul Vock and Dan Heusinkveld are this year’s honorees. The two men have been involved with the fair for decades.Vock started with the fair in 1971 as the Heav

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The Clinton Herald Jim Miller Low-cost, free cellphone options for seniors DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling SeniorDEAR SELDOM: For financially challenged seniors who only want a cell pho

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bice Nurses earn Daisy awards

    CLINTON — Two Clinton nurses recently earned Daisy awards.Mercy Medical Center nurses Jodie Atkinson and Kristen Bice earned the awards that is rewarded to extraordinary nurses. Atkinson began her career in nursing at Mercy Medical Center in 1995 on

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Revolver goes for $400 at auction CLINTON — Selling in two locations on June 21 proved to be a winner. I was selling in the first location with my son Jon and we had a strong bidding crowd. The second location had Jeff Lohr and Bill McWilliams holding firm with a nice crowd of bidder

    July 19, 2014

  • Sawmill New event cruises into Clinton CLINTON — Three Gateway-area locations are joining together in August for a river heritage event.The event will be held Aug. 3 and will feature a Blue Heron river cruise, a Sawmill Museum tour and a de Immigrant Windmill tour in Fulton, Illinois. The

    July 18, 2014 3 Photos

  • Minnick Ashford director appointed to commission CLINTON —The Ashford University campus director has been appointed to a volunteer commission.Charlie Minnick, vice president/campus director of Ashford University, has been appointed by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad to the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Ser

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Summer lunch menus (July 21 to 25)

    Summer lunch menus at Jefferson and Bluff Elementary Schools, and Generations Area Agency on Aging

    July 17, 2014

  • Ax throw, log climb at Adirondack lumberjack class PAUL SMITHS, N.Y. — Ax throwing is encouraged in lumberjack class. It’s also OK to dump your classmate in the lake — as long as you’re both frantically trying to stay upright on a floating log.The annual Adirondack Woodsmen’s School is being held thi

    July 17, 2014

  • Locally-grown foods look to bigger business

    Once a niche business, locally grown foods aren't just for farmers markets anymore.

    July 16, 2014

  • What happens to your online accounts when you die?

    You've probably decided who gets the house or that family heirloom up in the attic when you die. But what about your email account and all those photos stored online?

    July 16, 2014

Front page
Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Poll

Should the city of Clinton appeal the open records violation ruling that will cost taxpayers $40,600?

Yes
No
     View Results
AP Video
Olympics 2014
Featured Comment
Featured Ads
Blue Zones Project
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.