Threat Assessment for Sensitive Buildings against Terrorism in urban environments – by Tiziano Li Piani

The built heritage of European cities is exposed to various hazards of different nature – natural events such as floods or earthquakes but also man-made threats. The escalation of terrorist attacks conducted in urban environments against soft targets necessitates the development of guidelines for the antiterrorism design of buildings and public spaces. Counter-terrorism engineering design is challenged by the lack of definite knowledge and quantitative assessment concerning terrorist risks, including the behavior of terrorists prior and during an attack. The results of a pilot project that aimed at comprehensively addressing terrorist attack scenarios against Churches in urban settings are summarized in this chapter. The threat assessment was based on the statistical inference of patterns extracted from a sizeable database of such attacks. The statistical incidence of certain behavioral patterns enabled the quantitative elaboration of ten threat scenarios, addressing also timing and placement patterns of the attackers based on their modus operandi. This paper summarizes and interprets the main  results and findings of the project.

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The extended version of this research will be published in the first number of 2021 of the journal ‘Security, Terrorism, Society’. This paper will also include the chapter of vulnerability mapping for places of worship against terrorist attacks.