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Protecting Soft Targets in Indonesia

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Protecting ‘Soft Targets’

The ISIS claimed/sponsored attacks in the Lebanon, Paris, Jakarta and Brussels, indicate the group are shifting focus from attacks within their recognized area of operations - Syria and Iraq - to external attacks in overseas cities. In light of the comparatively easy access to; weapons, components to make explosives, willing personnel and tactical simplicity, the possibility of repeat attacks of this nature in other cities must be a reality.

The most recent of these attacks - the Brussels attack in March 2016, again highlighted the terrorist’s preference to identify and attack Soft Targets – i.e., those which attract a significant number of potential victims who can be attacked without the need to smuggle weapons and explosives beyond security screening.  These types of target are plentiful in Jakarta, some are; mall & hotel receptions / lobby for drop off and pick up, concerts, large events and particularly the 'soft side' of airport​s, ports and train stations - the area before body and baggage screening/searching​.​

Such attacks could happen anywhere there are active terrorist groupings and therefore, we should assume that similar attacks could happen in Indonesia.

What can we do to protect these Soft Targets?

Whilst difficult to defend against, we may all be able to assist in the protection of these targets by reducing their value as a target. To achieve this we need to change our behavior and in doing so we may also reduce our risk of becoming a victim. Suggested changes to behavior may include:

  1. ​Minimizing time spent in soft target areas, such as; malls & hotel reception areas, vehicle drop off and pick up points, concerts, large events and the 'public side' of airport​s, ports and train stations i.e. check-in areas before being screened.​
  2. ​Plan your journeys to minimize time spent waiting - brief your driver on your aim to minimize time spent waiting in these areas and establish good communications with him. Consider funding a smart mobile phone for your driver so you can also track his position and therefore better plan your movement to avoid the target areas.
  3. If you approach these ​soft target areas and find them congested with traffic and crowds (which will attract increased target value) - ​consider the following action​​;
    • If in a vehicle - drive around the block to let the traffic and crowd disperse. If traffic does not allow this action, consider getting out and walking to a different entry point.
    • If on foot - avoid the crowds and move to an alternative entry point or a cafe again allowing time for the crowds to disperse.
  4. ​When passing through security screening points cooperate and encourage the security personnel to do a thorough job.
  5. Stay informed of local events and activities by monitoring the media and / or subscribe to a security risk information service that feeds you ‘live’ incident SMS alerts and emails to facilitate informed choice and decision making.
  6. Finally, we all have a duty to report suspicious persons, movement and activity. If you See or Hear Something Suspicious then Do Something - Report it. ​Inform local Security Personnel, Police or if language presents a barrier, report to the nominated point of contact for security matters in your organization.

by Security Consultant, Basil Gouge

Hill & Associates is an international risk mitigation consultancy that has been operating in Indonesia for 20 years. Services include the provision of ‘Live’ incident SMS alerts, Security Advisory Bulletins, Security Awareness Briefings, Site & Building Security Management Training, Security Driver Training and Security Audits to mitigate such threats and risks.​

This article was generously contributed by:

PT Hill Konsultan Indonesia

Housing and schooling information for expats in Indonesia expatriate website for Indonesia Indonesian language translation of article

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