Cover: Reducing Terrorism Risk at Shopping Centers

Reducing Terrorism Risk at Shopping Centers

An Analysis of Potential Security Options

Published Dec 6, 2006

by Tom LaTourrette, David R. Howell, David E. Mosher, John MacDonald


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Terrorist threat at shopping centers is a prominent concern, with over 60 terrorist attacks against shopping centers in 21 countries since 1998. Shopping center operators are beginning to explore and implement increased security efforts specifically designed to combat terrorism. This report offers qualitative and quantitative modeling approaches to help shopping center operators evaluate candidate security options in terms of their effectiveness at reducing terrorism risk, reaching the following conclusions. First, a strategy to reduce terrorism risk will be similar for most shopping centers. Second, because terrorism security at shopping centers is based primarily on deterrence, disaster preparedness plans and exercises do little to reduce terrorism risk. Third, centers that implement terrorism security options early may experience both challenges (shoppers may be annoyed enough to go elsewhere) and advantages (shoppers may prefer shopping in centers they feel are safer). Fourth, a tiered implementation may be the best strategy - implementing security options most appropriate for now and developing plans for the future. Finally, this analysis provides useful guidance about prioritizing security options to reduce terrorism risk, but it does not address the risk of terrorism overall or when to begin implementing terrorism security options.

The research described in this report was conducted under the auspices of the Homeland Security Program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment (ISE).

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