Ahead of Christmas, Croatian Police Increase Security Measures

Total Croatia News

The decision was made as a result of recent terrorist attack in Berlin.

Croatia’s Police Directorate has tightened security measures in Croatia. Although the police try to remain discreet, the first signs can already be seen on the Croatian streets, reports Jutarnji List on December 22, 2016.

Police Director General Marko Srdarević issued a decision on Tuesday to raise the level of alert throughout the country, from the second to the third of four stages. The decision was a result of the terrorist attack in Berlin and was made just a few hours after the event. Consequently, the police immediately increased its activity in public places, which can already be seen in the area around Zrinjevac, where Zagreb’s Christmas market is taking place. The area is patrolled by police officer with explosive detection dogs. “That is a visible consequence of the decision to increase the level of readiness”, said one source.

A day after the massacre in Berlin, representatives of the Security and Intelligence Agency, the Military Security and Intelligence Agency and the Police Directorate met in Zagreb and came to a conclusion that it was necessary to increase the level of preparedness of security and intelligence services. The decision, based on security intelligence data, was made by Police Director General, and then the Interior Minister informed the Prime Minister about it

In practice, this means increased police patrols in places where public events are held. This especially goes for Christmas events such as Advent fairs. Furthermore, border monitoring has been increased as well. This involves greater activity of special units and border police with thermal imaging devices. In addition, this level of preparedness includes stronger and more frequent coordination and exchange of information between police and intelligence services.

The third level of alert was last introduced in March, after the terrorist attack at the airport in Brussels, and before that after the terrorist attack in Paris. But, unlike then, now the situation is different. Due to numerous holiday events, there is a large number of people on streets and squares of Croatian towns, an ideal target for terrorists, which was demonstrated by the attack in Berlin. The measures will be in force until further notice, especially during Advent events which are held outdoors.

The decision to raise the alert level was based on the general state of security in Europe and the recent warnings from the US State Department to all partners in Europe that there was a serious threat of terrorist attacks in areas where Christmas markets are being held. The State Department sent its warning to European partners on the basis of continuous surveillance of communications on social networks through which terrorist groups typically plan and arrange their attacks. A similar warning was announced by Europol as well.

Thus, intensified police measures have not been instituted due to any specific threat or information about possible terrorist attack on Croatian territory. However, Croatian citizens should be aware that such a situation is possible. Sources warn that increased policing measures on the ground and reinforced efforts of intelligence services can hardly prevent an attack similar to the one in Berlin. Such “lone wolves” are almost impossible to detect. It is much easier to thwart a plan of a larger terrorist group, no matter how sophisticated it is and how much its members try to cover up their plans.


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