How Secure Is Your Community?

How secure is your community from terrorism? You won't know without a comprehensive risk assessment and vulnerability analysis. This is the first step in answering the question, “How secure is your community?” and the first step in achieving an adequate security posture and plans to deal with the inherent uncertainties that face us today.

A community should look at power plants, water facilities, telecommunications hubs, and public health and transportation assets that promote the community's safety, security, and survivability when determining risk. You want to examine the total security of the systems within systems that serve and sustain the community.

Risk Management Alternatives

Do Nothing

  • No cost
  • Greatest risk

Reasonable Mitigation Measures

  • Some cost
  • Reduced risk

Harden the Facility

  • Greatest cost
  • Least risk

How Secure Is Your Community Risk Assessment

According to G. Gordon Liddy in his book Fight Back, when assessing risk for risk management purposes, you can divide terrorism risks into three elements. These are: the assets you value and therefore need to protect, the likelihood of you or your industry being attacked, and your vulnerability to attack. He does note that while this approach offers a viable means of assigning values and apportioning risk, there can be a degree of subjectivity in this analysis because it is difficult to know the full value of an item, fully understand the enemy's mind-set and intentions, or to ensure your vulnerability-mitigation efforts will be effective. The key to success lies in having experienced and knowledgeable industry analysts perform the assessment and assign the values.

Looking at the three elements promotes effective, predictive risk management by identifying known threats to a company or industry. It is important to understand that these components of risk do not act in isolation. The are closely dependent on and reinforce each other.

It is also important to examine the potential for cascading effects of a single event. The interrelationships of all components is the basis for understanding and avoiding potentially catastrophic events that, one the surface, my not seem as high risk as other events.

A proper risk assessment will the allow an organization or community to reduce vulnerability to attack by hardening facilities with increased physical protection, which should in turn, make the targeting of such facilities less likely.

Resource for this article: Fight Back: Tackling Terrorism, Liddy Style by G. Gordon Liddy

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