Attractive object

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This is a help page for the SecuRbAn risk assessment tool
An attractive object is an urban object with a high appeal to potential criminals.

Identification of attractive objects

An attractive object is characterized by the fact that it has perceived qualities that match the motives of potential perpetrators. This means that the actual characteristics of an object (for example, are there really objects of value inside the building?) are less relevant than the perceived characteristics (do potential perpetrators think that there are objects of value inside the building?).

The identification of attractive objects is done in the SecuRbAn tool by checking the characteristics that match motives of potential perpetrators with the perceived characteristics of the urban object.

Objects with valuable goods

These objects attract criminals who are in search of a gain in wealth, by one of the following modi operandi:

  • get in and hide
  • breaking and entering
  • ram-raiding
  • car theft
An expensive yacht can convey the impression that valuable objects are an board
Identifying objects with valuable goods can be done by checking:
  • are valuable goods present in the objects?
  • can potential perpetrators get the idea that valuable objects are present? Examples are objects that have a exceptionally high level of visible protection measures ('where there's smoke, there's fire'), a visible flow of valuables, a high external stature, outside markings that indicate the presence of valuables (such as the word 'bank' on the façade), are valuable goods visible from the outside or can their presence be deducted?

Both questions are relevant to the assessment: if valuables are actually present, someone will find out sooner or later. If no valuables are present, but the appearance indicates otherwise, the object can still become a target.

Objects with valuable information

These objects attract criminals who are in search of a gain in wealth, by one of the following modi operandi:

  • get in and hide
  • breaking and entering
  • ram-raiding
  • car theft

Identifying objects with valuable information can be done by checking:

  • is valuable information present in the objects?
  • can potential perpetrators get the idea that valuable information is present? Examples are objects that have a exceptionally high level of visible protection measures ('where there's smoke, there's fire'), a visible use of valuable information (such as credit card numbers), outside markings that indicate the presence of valuable information (such as the word 'passport office' on the façade), is valuable information visible from the outside (even from cyberspace) or can their presence be deducted?

Both questions are relevant to the assessment: if valuables are actually present, someone will find out sooner or later. If no valuables are present, but the appearance indicates otherwise, the object can still become a target.

Objects with symbolic value

These objects can attract fanatics and protesters towards destruction of property.

What characteristics attract fanatics, depends on the type of fanatic:

Religious fanatic

Synagogue, a religious symbol
Identifying objects that attract religious fanatics can be done by checking:
  • Does the object have a strong religious or anti-religious association?
  • Does the object have a strong symbolic value in the religion?
  • Do fanatics exist that strongly oppose these values?

Ethnical fanatic

Identifying objects that attract ethnical fanatics can be done by checking:

  • Does the object have a strong ethnical or anti-ethnical association?
  • Do fanatics exist that strongly oppose this ethnical group?

Ideological fanatic

Utøya, an island in the Tyrifjorden lake in Norway, where in 2011 an ideological fanatic killed 69 people
Ideological fanatics are fanatics who act from other motives than religious or ethnical, such as communists, anti-globalists or environmental fanatics. Beware that this category only concerns fanatics, not activists. The difference between the two categories is that activists perform their action within the bounds of the law.

As the motives for this rest group of fanatics can differ widely, one can only identify possible targets by checking:

  • Does the object have a strong ideological or anti-ideological association?
  • Do fanatics exist that strongly oppose or support this ideology?

Prominent object

The statue of liberty: An object with a high public stature
A prominent object is an object with a high public stature. This can attract fanatics, as it provides a lot of media attention if the object is attacked.

Prominent objects can be identified by checking:

  • Does the object have an important societal contribution, i.e. would the destruction of the object impact the lives of many people?
  • Does the object have a high societal status, such as a high governmental building, a royal dwelling or a residence of a VIP
  • Does the object have a high symbolic value, such as the Statue of Liberty in America, the Eiffel tower in France or the London Bridge?

Visible object

A visible object is an object that is visible and distinctive from a wide range of the surroundings. This, too will provide fanatics with the certainty that if the object is chosen as a target, the results will be very visible.

Object with smooth and visible surfaces

Graffiti on a smooth, highly visible surface
Graffiti artists are looking for surfaces for their art that have the properties of being both smooth, and preferably visible for a wide public.

Objects that are attractive for graffiti can be identified by checking:

  • Does the object have smooth (preferably uni-toned) surfaces? Examples are walls of buildings, tunnels, bridges and other structures, sound barriers, concrete landscaping elements, park benches or waste baskets.
  • Are those surfaces in direct sight of the public? Examples are surfaces on the street (park benches, landscaping elements, waste-baskets, etcetera) and surfaces visible from the flow of the masses (such as the sides of viaducts).
  • Does the neighbourhood show more graffiti or an otherwise deteriorated impression?

Footnotes and references