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The fear of a new attack on a Christmas market is great, but concrete blocks hardly protect. The inner cities have to be rebuilt, demands an expert.

Security on Christmas markets: Lego bricks against terror

The fear of a new attack on a Christmas market is great, but concrete blocks hardly protect. The inner cities have to be rebuilt, demands an expert.

Security on Christmas markets: Lego bricks against terror
Content
  • Page 1 — Lego bricks against terror
  • Page 2 — "Do not turn inner cities into fortresses"
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    In Bochum, terror defense is nicely packaged: wrapping paper hides heavy sacks that are supposed to protect Christmas market this year. Or cities have placed sand-filled containers or even trucks in front of driveways of places. Many markets are surrounded by concrete blocks that look like oversized Lego bricks. Not once again should a terrorist succeed in steering a truck into a Christmas market and killing people, like anise Amri last year in Berlin.

    Are markets safe now? There can be no absolute protection against terrorist attacks in any case. However, even concrete blocks hardly contribute to more safety: a test of Dekra on behalf of MDR showed in spring that even heaviest variant does not withstand impact of a truck: it simply pushed it to side at Tempo 50 and drove barely braked on. Even more, concrete blocks were so dangerously shot. According to MDR, some East German cities after crash have devised even heavier barriers this winter: Chemnitz uses sand-filled construction containers, Magdeburg connects concrete blocks with eyelets to a chain. Erfurt places blocks partly in double row and so on curb edges that y should additionally brake. However, no one can say wher and against what helps exactly that.

    The problem is that re are no din-tested mobile blocks in Germany, so it is safe to say which impact energy y can hold. "When municipalities ask, we cannot recommend a recommendation," says Detlev Safari of German Crime Prevention Forum, which also advises federal government. Many of barriers to Christmas markets this year can, refore, deter at most potential attackers, but not deter m in a serious emergency.

    In addition to makeshift locks, some cities will be watching Christmas markets by video this year, which was revealed by a survey by news agency DPA. In addition, more police officers are in use almost everywhere. At Potsdam Christmas market, police patrols were again strengned after a package was delivered on Friday in a pharmacy near market, which was filled with nails and an explosive body. Even international media reported. Only later it became known that sender would probably not attack market, but wanted to blackmail parcel service. The fear that a Christmas market could have been retargeted is great.

    What is more important: security or feeling of security?

    The question that arises in Berlin and on all or Christmas markets is: what is more important, security or feeling of security? The Federal Ministry announced at opening of Christmas market season that re was a persistently high risk situation in Germany. At same time, he hopes, said Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, that people are mindful but not fearful. But fear of attacks has been very great for years, although risk for individuals to actually become victims is rar low.

    This is understandable, says risk researcher Ortwin Racing. Because terrorist attacks could hit anyone without our intervention, y're so scary. The risk of being injured in driving is much greater – but race is less threatening, because we think we can judge it. It is still open wher fear of possible attacks prevents many people from visiting a Christmas market. and wher y feel more protected or remembered by security measures.

    The criminologist Detlev Safari is convinced that protection of inner cities against attacks with vehicles can hardly be seen. Only n did people feel safe. For this, urban and traffic planning, civil engineering and public authorities and police would have to work toger. The measures he proposes are integrated into cityscape: benches or shelter, which are made of resistant materials and so anchored in ground, that y shield a place safely from vehicles that should not drive in re. And that without constantly remembering threat. Art in public spaces could also fulfil this purpose. He liked idea of colourfully packed locks from Bochum – if it were clear what y were holding.

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