Security experts reminding Maritimers to stay alert in wake of targeted attacks
After a pair of violent incidents in North America over the weekend, many are becoming increasingly concerned for their safety at events with large crowds.
On Saturday, an Edmonton police officer was allegedly attacked outside a football stadium and four pedestrians were run over by vehicle in a rental truck. The next day, two women from Alberta and a B.C. man were among the 59 people killed in a mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Following such tragedies, Maritime security consultant Cameron Dopler says his phone often starts ringing.
"The biggest question is what can I do?” Dopler says, “The biggest thing is prepare."
Kevin Quigley of the MacEachen Institute for Public Policy and Governance says much of the instant fear is the result of a knee-jerk reaction.
"We see dramatic reaction probably in the early stages, but probably disproportionate in some respects to the risks that exist. These are extremely rare events," says Quigley.
But even though they’re rare, they’re also traumatic. The Las Vegas tragedy was already the worst mass shooting in United States history by the time most people woke up.
It’s the latest in a series on so-called “soft targets,” where the victims targeted are unsuspecting people going about their daily lives – from public transit to concerts and sporting events, or just out on the town with friends.
It’s a growing phenomenon that while rare and random, experts say it can be reassuring to be prepared.
"It’s not unexpected, from my point of view,” Dopler says. “My job as a security consultant is to provide information so people are aware of what can happen, to take those steps to mitigate the risks or navigate themselves out of that situation."
Nova Scotia RCMP say at the very least, there is a growing need for people to be more vigilant.
"What we've seen over the weekend shows that sometimes things do happen that we don't expect to happen," says Cpl. Jennifer Clarke, spokesperson for Nova Scotia RCMP.
Top security experts from around the world will soon gather in Halifax for the International Security Conference. The focus last year was on cybersecurity in the wake of computer hacks and leaks.
Organizers say this year, expect discussion on how to cope and respond to soft-target attacks.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett.