NEW YORK. The terror attack that took place in New York on Halloween is an example of a new kind of attack, one that uses rental cars or vehicles to harm as many people as possible in densely-populated areas. According to QZ, the terror attack in New York has been considered the deadliest attack to take place in the city since 9/11.
These attacks are so frightening because they don’t necessarily require elaborate plotting or teams of terrorists to be performed. ISIL and other groups only need to recruit one person who can drive to do immense damage. While these attacks are not particularly sophisticated, they are very difficult to prevent.
The New York Times reports that the recent attack was plotted over the course of a year. Eight people were killed, and another 12 were injured.
New York has worked on its city engineering and design to make the city safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. For example, as part of the city’s Pedestrian Safety Study and Action Plan, the department of transportation has installed new crosswalk countdowns and launched a program to improve left-turn visibility at crosswalks. Streets have been re-engineered to increase pedestrian safety. However, streets may not necessarily have been designed with vehicular terrorism in mind. While bike paths and pedestrian paths successfully separate pedestrians from traffic, these areas run the risk of becoming targets for vehicular terrorists.
Going forward the city might need to look into ways it can protect pedestrians. Placing barricades near road entrances where cars can enter bike paths may be one way. In busy intersections, metal barriers are sometimes built to protect pedestrians from oncoming vehicles.
Despite this, it can be very difficult to completely protect pedestrians from vehicles altogether. It can also be tough to identify individuals prone to radicalism before it was too late. Who was the man responsible for the attack? Reports indicate that he was an Uzbek national who previously drove for Uber. CNBC reports that he passed his Uber background check. The man reportedly drove 1400 rides for Uber.
The fact of the matter is that neither companies nor cities can entirely prevent these attacks from occurring. The best way we can prevent these attacks is by changing people’s hearts and minds before they become radicalized. In Britain, authorities have started programs in schools and places of worship. Charities have been developed to prevent people from becoming disenfranchised and radicalized. People who knew the man responsible for the attack claimed he became increasingly agitated and angry as he became alienated in American society. Could an intervention program have helped him?
According to the Center for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, there are several factors that can lead to radicalization. Failure at school or work and life difficulties, coupled with exposure to media that leads to radicalization or radicalized social groups can precipitate violence. Low critical thinking skills, lack of work prospects, and lack of family connections are noted risk factors.
Antin, Ehrlich, & Epstein are New York personal injury lawyers whose hearts and thoughts are with the victims of the attacks that took place on Halloween. If you or a loved one has been injured or impacted by reckless driving or vehicular violence, we are here for you. Visit https://aeelaw.com/ to learn more.