Security risks of Orchard Road pedestrian walkways

Yet another terrorist attack has been staged in New York City (New York truck attack sparks political finger-pointing; Nov 2).

Many would notice that the recent attacks in the crowded cities of Munich, London, Barcelona and Nice bear a similar characteristic: a lone extremist ploughing a rented truck into helpless pedestrians.

My worst fear is that the Orchard Road pedestrian walkways will be the scene of such an attack.

My friends and I would not take a leisurely stroll there, and avoid areas with a high concentration of tourist traffic or with foreign western companies.

Many pockets of our world-famous shopping district are easily accessible to trucks. Heavy cement blocks and bollards should be installed at all entry points. More surveillance cameras and regular policing should be put in place.

Truck rentals should be restricted to Singapore citizens. Even then, there should be thorough checks on identity and purpose, including the actual viewing of goods to be transported.

Perhaps all our off-duty policemen should be allowed to carry weapons, although this may introduce other challenges.

In Israel, many attacks using heavy vehicles, excavators and buses were swiftly thwarted by off-duty soldiers and policemen who carried guns.

Michael Lum Yan Meng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2017, with the headline 'Security risks of Orchard Road pedestrian walkways'. Print Edition | Subscribe