On Security

Prevent, Deny, Defend: A Strategy for Dealing With Mass Public Attacks

Scott Stewart
VP of Tactical Analysis, Stratfor
May 15, 2018 | 10:00 GMT
In this photograph, French police inspect the scene after a man armed with a knife was shot dead after he killed on person and injured several others in Paris on May, 12, 2018.

Forensic officers and a French policemen inspect the area in Monsigny street in Paris after one person was killed and several injured by a man armed with a knife, who was shot dead by police, in Paris on May 12, 2018. The attack took place near the city's main opera house.


Much of the time in this column I write from the point of view of the individual victim and discuss ways that people can protect themselves and their families from attackers. But this week I want to flip the script a bit and focus on the steps that security managers, business owners, and officials for schools and places of worship can take to help safeguard their facilities and the people inside them. To respond to active shooters, the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program at Texas State University in San Marcos has developed the concept of "avoid, deny, defend." I prefer this terminology over the widely cited "run, hide, fight," because "avoid and deny" better describe the proper behavior in such a situation. But if we make "avoid, deny, defend" into "prevent, deny, defend," we create an excellent framework for thinking about how to create security programs to defend public...

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