TS Blurb-(Spectrum of Possibilities)

Greetings Expats,

I wanted to share this “blurb” concerning the spectrum of possibilities in Tunisia from a security perspective.  I would love to hear what you think as I explore with this new method of sharing information.  

Articles Discussed & Other Links:

TS Update-(World Social Forum in Town)

Greetings Expats,

Hope you had a great weekend and were able to enjoy the nice weather.  

On the Radar for this week:

World Social Forum

Many streets will be closed (downtown Tunis) during the World Social Forum (26 to 30 March).  A march will take place during the afternoon of Tuesday March 26 starting from Street 14 January to Place Olympic Stadium El Menzah, through all along Avenue Mohamed V, Place Pasteur, Charles Nicolle Avenue and Avenue 10 December.  

Avoid downtown especially on Tuesday, March 26 from 2pm to 5pm to avoid this protest and traffic.  

Spring Break

Expats…now is the time to review your residential security setup.  Please remember to review your setup   B E F O R E you travel for Spring Break.

Before traveling ask yourself:

  • Do you have trusted neighbors who will be aware of your absence?
  • Does your residence look well maintained or will it look abandoned in your absence?
  • Do your locks work properly?  
  • If you have one…is your security system functioning properly?  

It’s amazing how fast the weather changes here, but it’s also symbolic of how the situation can change.  Please continue to use good situational awareness and let’s stay connected.  

TS Update-(Spring Information Meter)

Greetings Expats,

I remember the feeling of anxiety that dominated me during the days leading up to the Tunisian Revolution.  Most of the stress was a result of feeling in the dark and a lack of information   At times, I felt like a pilot without any navigation equipment…and that’s why I started the Tunisia Security Update Blog.

Since that day, I’ve been blessed with a steady stream of good information from security professionals, seasoned expats, and knowledgable locals.  Thanks to this network I not only feel empowered but I’ve also made it a personal mission to empower and share as much practical and relevant security information with the Expat Community.

OK…let me stop before I get too excited.  

Information Meter

Thanks to this network I can sense when things are “picking up” and I have to admit that underneath the surface; a lot is going on.

Security professionals that monitor Tunisia are concerned.  Jamie Dettmer of Fox News put forth an insightful article:

“Prime Minster Larayedh has pledged to end political turmil by adopting quickly a new constitution and cracking down on Salafist violence.  BUT–>debate over a new governing charter for Tunisia risks enflaming disputes between secularists and hard -line Islamists and it isn’t clear that Larayedh has the stomach for a confrontation with Salafists.”

Additionally, the phrase I keep hearing from different contacts is:  “underneath the surface the water is boiling.”  I know what you’re thinking: What does that mean?  

Well here are the top 4 developments that are making the water boil:

Of course not all is bad, but as Germany’s Foreign Minster stated:  “It is obvious-the more stable, reliable and democratic the development of the country, the easier it will be for European and German investments to come to Tunisia.”

As always thanks for the emails & support…let’s keep networking.  

 

 

TS Update-(March Assessment)

Greetings Expats,

The weather is definitely getting better and more Expats are subscribing to our newsletter and contributing to the discussion.  

Each month we get together with several Expat security professionals to discuss the security situation in Tunisia.  Our meetings are a great chance for us to network and compare notes.  I wanted to share with you some practical & relevant information from our last meeting: 

General Situation

We discussed the overall situation in Tunisia and while the group was mostly optimistic, we all agreed that Expats need to maintain a high level of situational awareness.

With regards to the March 16th demonstration, we talked about how surprised we were to learn that it was reported as “the biggest protest since the Arab Spring.” This type of reporting and off base assessment is what makes it difficult for uninformed people to accurately assess the situation.

A quick google news search supplies more than enough information for our family members to be very concerned for our safety.  As Expats, it’s hard for us to explain that things aren’t quite as negative as the media frames it.

Strikes & Other Disruptions

Many doubt the possible airport strikes that are scheduled for March 25th, 26th, 27th.  Not only is the timing counter productive, but it will also reflect badly on the newly assembled government so the overall consensus is that the strikes will most likely not take place.

That being said we will continue to monitor the situation and share any relevant updates.

Residential Security 

Residential security continues to be a major concern as we have noticed a significant increase in home break-ins post revolution.  While security professionals agree that burglaries have increased, we’ve also observed that the majority of incidents have one thing in common: The victim supplies the opportunity.

The Crime Triangle teaches us that in order for a crime to take place three things must be present:  desire, opportunity, and ability.  Criminals are on the hunt for opportunities and they are choosing perceived affluent neighborhoods such as Carthage and La Marsa, as their targets of choice.

Looking Ahead

The U.S. State Department recently warned that “civil unrest in Tunisia and the possibility of further violence means the security situation is unpredictable.”  While this is an accurate assessment, this isn’t news for any of our subscribers.  We understand that Tunisia is going through a massive transition and we can not simply hide within an “Expat Bubble”.

Instead of going through endless “what if scenarios”, we prefer to remind Expats about the importance of situational awareness & personal safety.

Presentations

We are happy to arrange for a Situational Awareness + Personal Safety Presentation.  If you or your organization is interested in such a presentation please feel free to contact us for more information.

Let’s continue to share information and stay in touch.  

TS Update-(Residential Security + Personal Safety)

Greetings Expats,

Monday, March 4th was a long night for us.  We had several residential/ personal safety issues that we had to address. Many lessons learned and I would like to share them with you:
1st Incident:
Subject Expat gets assaulted by (4) young males while running.  What began as a typical “harass the Western looking woman while she runs”, escalated into a case of assault as one male decided to punch her to the ground.  Fortunately, several people observed this and came to her aid.  
Time:  Apprx. 415pm
Location:  Right next to the Zitouna Bank going towards Le Kram.
After Action:  Police report + Conducted an hour long patrol with police in an unsuccessful attempt to apprehend the individuals involved.
2nd Incident:  Home Break In La Marsa, 
Time:  8:30pm
Location:  (Residential Area behind the La Marsa stadium) La Marsa
After Action:  Police report + detailed finger print search
Interesting Points:  Thieves were bold, calm, and methodical.  Entered the home right as the couple went upstairs to put the kids to sleep.
We definitely need to remind the Expat Community about the importance of personal safety & residential security.  
Expat Awareness 
It’s important to remember that while comparatively speaking Tunisia has a low crime rate, security professionals agree that there’s been a significant increase in “low level crimes”.  Petty criminals are bolder and our communities have been hit with more incidents of purse snatching, harassment and burglaries. 
Personal Safety 101
According to the 2012 OSAC Crime & Safety Report and personal experience, we can confirm that: Target selection tends to focus on persons who appear unfamiliar with their surroundings, those who are dressed in expensive or western style clothing, or otherwise draw attention to themselves.
Residential Security 
On the residential security side: “Burglaries occur with regularity, but do not exclusively focus on the expatriate community.  Since most burglaries are crimes of opportunity, a well secured home is often enough for the criminals to move on.”
For Expats here on long duration assignments we recommend the following levels of security: 
Level I (Basic Setup):  
Level II
  • Same as above 
  • Install Strategic Security Lighting 

Level III

  • Same as above
  • Consider a Private Security Vehicle Patrol

Once again, these are basic measures taken by Expats who live in urban environments all around the world and I am sure that most of you are already receiving this level of coverage either by your employer or community council.  It’s just, that for some unknown reason, many Expats believe that Tunisia was and continues to be immune to crime; that is simply not the case.

Let’s continue to share information and network as we get ready for Spring Break.  

TS Update-(S.O.E. Extended)

Greetings Expats,

Great weather these last few days and I had the privilege of attending a nice house warming party on Saturday.  It was a true Expat Party with more than 12 nations represented at the event.  It was also great to meet a couple of readers of the Tunisia Security Update Blog and listen to some positive feedback.

And now for this week’s update… 

State of Emergency Extended 

It’s interesting to note that the State of Emergency was extended for three months this time as oppose to the usual one month extension.  On a proactive side, one can speculate the following reasons for the extension.

  1. Saturday, March 2:  “Hundreds of salafists gathered in Sidi Bouzid to demand the release of an imam arrested as part of an inquiry into a gunfight between police and radical Islamists a week ago.” 
  2. Sunday, March 3: A mob of about 80 young men, armed with knives and molotovs, ransacked homes in the south of Tunis (Ben Arous area).  The lack of Tunisian security forces was noted.  
  3. Saturday, March 16th (tentative):  Large demonstration that will take place on the 16 March down town near the MOI building.  The demonstration is to celebrate the 40 day anniversary since Mr  Belaid’s Assassination.
  4. Continual Economic challenges:  Tunisia’s tenuous sense of security is destroying the national economy. International ratings agency Standard & Poor’s downgraded the Tunisian government’s credit rating to BB-, citing political instability as the root cause of the downgrade. With tourism and foreign investment down and an inflation rate at 10 per cent, hopes of the once vibrant Tunisian economy’s recovery seem dismal.  
  5. General Security Precaution:  The Australian government, for example advises it’s citizens to “exercise a high degree of caution in Tunisia because of the unpredictable security situation, the risk of further violence and civil unrest and the threat of kidnapping and terrorist attack.”

Not all is negative

We always like to share “positive security news”…and it seems like golf tourism is certainly upbeat and looking forward to brighter days ahead.

Let’s keep meeting, sharing, and networking…