TS Update-(Residential Security Incident in Kasserine)

Greetings Expats,

Over the last few weeks we’ve been discussing the seriousness of residential security and the lack of security on the ground within local neighborhoods.  Last night’s incident in Kasserine where gunmen “attacked the home of the country’s top security official, killing four of the police guarding it”  is a tragic & powerful case and point.  

According to witnesses:  “The assailants were hooded and arrived in a pick-up truck around mid-night in an attempt to enter the house. The group was on board of vehicle type Isuzu D-Max and opened fire on law enforcement officers tasked to secure the house”.  Additionally, authorities say the militants are linked to Al Qaeda, however it is important to note that militants have not claimed the attacks.  

Challenges Ahead

While discussing the incident this morning with one of my most reliable contacts he mentioned a phrase that I often dread:  “mezelet” which loosely means “not yet done”.  As a man that’s very selective about the words he uses, I’ve learned throughout the years that this means there are challenges ahead.  

What types of challenges?  

Well when a top security official’s home is attacked it indicates that groups are active & willing to conduct bold operations.  With the tourist & political campaign season upon us; this will have widespread consequences and we should see a strong response by the Tunisian security forces.  

On the expat side of things we should continue to focus on improving our personal & residential security setup.  After these types of incidents there is always a lot of nervous energy & concern, but as informed expats we should simply evaluate our setup and continue to follow practical security guidelines.  

  1. Review your routes & routines (set down and simply right down your weekly routine…then think of ways to change your routes so that you’re not predictable.)
  2. Walk around your residence and think of a few ways to make it more secure.  
  3. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings and receiving reliable information.   

Let’s continue to share informative information.   

Residential Security-(Laouina Incident)

Greetings Expats,

Let’s give credit where credit is due.  We have seen some notable security improvements since the technocratic government headed by Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa took office early this year.  The recent successful event in Djerba is a good example of the government’s commitment to security.  

Even with all the positive news that we’ve seen lately regarding the security situation in Tunisia; things are still hard to read.  While security has improved at the border and tourists areas; crime is picking up in local neighborhoods.  

Home Invasion in Laouina

During the middle of the night on Thursday (May 22nd/23rd) I received a phone call related to an expat needing security assistance.   Located near the Laouina Monoprix, the expat lives in a 2-story home with his family.  

IMG_0578
Aouina Neighborhood (Not the best neighborhood but certainly not the “wrong side” of town.)

According to the expat, he was awaken in the middle of the night (approx. 1:30am) by his youngest son who was complaining about his arm itching.  While retrieving a cream he realized that a window was open.  

The open window was enough to make the dad realize that something was wrong.  As he made his way downstairs, he noticed the front door was open and the criminals took off with his vehicle (keys were left near the door).  

In addition to the car they mostly stole electronic items to include a laptop, storing devices, and stereo speakers.

Obviously, the family was very shaken by the incident.  

Who did it? 

It’s important to note how the crime was committed before pointing to who might have done it.  The criminals came during the late hours of the night.  They brought their own tools (ladder in the picture below) and obviously had prior knowledge about the setup of the house.  

IMG_0571

Who?

Well here’s what we know: 

  • Family recently had (2) “reputable” companies conduct surveys at the home in preparation for their move.  If you remember the last incident that I shared which took place in La Marsa also had a company conduct a shipping survey.  Important to point out that it was not the same company in both cases.  
  • The guard was not feeling well and left his post at about 10pm.  The guard was also notably absent in the La Marsa incident.  

So just to recap, we’ve had (2) home invasions in the last 3 weeks.  Here’s what they both had in common:  

  1. They were both Expats
  2. They just recently had a shipping survey
  3. The guard was absent on the day of the incident

Police Reaction 

Night patrols are minimal and ineffective at best.  Local hired “street guards” are easily compromised and lack the awareness to respond.  Alarms and iron works help but ensuring that only people you trust access your home is very important.  

IMG_0576
Police search for finger prints…

On a positive side, the police was able to find the stolen vehicle in less than 24hours.  The family remains shaken but they will leave Tunis this summer for good.  

This is certainly an exceptional case and home invasions are still by no means “normal” in Tunisia.  However, the last 2 cases have certainly made us rethink our residential security setup.  

Now is a great time for every expat to review their residential as well as their personal security setup.  Remember that the key is to have a good balance between practical & effective.  

Let’s keep sharing information and if you would like more information on this case or how you can make your home more secure here in Tunis please feel free to email us at:  

 

Residential Security-(Laouina Incident)

Greetings Expats,

Let’s give credit where credit is due.  We have seen some notable security improvements since the technocratic government headed by Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa took office early this year.  The recent successful event in Djerba is a good example of the government’s commitment to security.  

Even with all the positive news that we’ve seen lately regarding the security situation in Tunisia; things are still hard to read.  While security has improved at the border and tourists areas; crime is picking up in local neighborhoods.  

Home Invasion in Laouina

During the middle of the night on Thursday (May 22nd/23rd) I received a phone call related to an expat needing security assistance.   Located near the Laouina Monoprix, the expat lives in a 2-story home with his family.  

IMG_0578
Aouina Neighborhood (Not the best neighborhood but certainly not the “wrong side” of town.)

According to the expat, he was awaken in the middle of the night (approx. 1:30am) by his youngest son who was complaining about his arm itching.  While retrieving a cream he realized that a window was open.  

The open window was enough to make the dad realize that something was wrong.  As he made his way downstairs, he noticed the front door was open and the criminals took off with his vehicle (keys were left near the door).  

In addition to the car they mostly stole electronic items to include a laptop, storing devices, and stereo speakers.

Obviously, the family was very shaken by the incident.  

Who did it? 

It’s important to note how the crime was committed before pointing to who might have done it.  The criminals came during the late hours of the night.  They brought their own tools (ladder in the picture below) and obviously had prior knowledge about the setup of the house.  

IMG_0571

Who?

Well here’s what we know: 

  • Family recently had (2) “reputable” companies conduct surveys at the home in preparation for their move.  If you remember the last incident that I shared which took place in La Marsa also had a company conduct a shipping survey.  Important to point out that it was not the same company in both cases.  
  • The guard was not feeling well and left his post at about 10pm.  The guard was also notably absent in the La Marsa incident.  

So just to recap, we’ve had (2) home invasions in the last 3 weeks.  Here’s what they both had in common:  

  1. They were both Expats
  2. They just recently had a shipping survey
  3. The guard was absent on the day of the incident

Police Reaction 

Night patrols are minimal and ineffective at best.  Local hired “street guards” are easily compromised and lack the awareness to respond.  Alarms and iron works help but ensuring that only people you trust access your home is very important.  

IMG_0576
Police search for finger prints…

On a positive side, the police was able to find the stolen vehicle in less than 24hours.  The family remains shaken but they will leave Tunis this summer for good.  

This is certainly an exceptional case and home invasions are still by no means “normal” in Tunisia.  However, the last 2 cases have certainly made us rethink our residential security setup.  

Now is a great time for every expat to review their residential as well as their personal security setup.  Remember that the key is to have a good balance between practical & effective.  

Let’s keep sharing information and if you would like more information on this case or how you can make your home more secure here in Tunis please feel free to email us at:  

 

TS Update-(Expats Drive Safely)

Greetings Expats,

Security developments are gaining more attention here in Tunis.  With the recent arrest of “eight Islamists from Libya” and the ongoing deteriorating situation in Libya; the words Tunis & security are back on the front page. 

 Tunisia security forces have also stepped up their efforts in the Chaambi mountains, continuing their effective offensive against militants.  With elections slated to take place in November and campaign season starting in the summer; it’s no surprise that things are picking up.  

Focus on the road 

Even with all this, we continue to remind people that driving is our number 1 concern and your highest safety threat in Tunisia.  This week alone we’ve learned of (2) very serious bus accidents.  

This accident took place today around  around Ras Jebel with up to 45 injuries.  

Safe Driver Checklist

Here are a few tips for expat drivers in Tunis: 

  1. Make sure your vehicle paper work is good to go.  (Insurance, ID, Safety Inspection)  
  2. Drive defensively (drive with a sense of purpose)
  3. Make sure you have an insurance form (useful in minor accidents)
  4. Choose your speed (let pedestrians cross but don’t drive overly cautious as this can work against you)

Remember that driving  is your number 1 safety threat…so stay focus out there.  

 

TS Update-(Expats Drive Safely)

Greetings Expats,

Security developments are gaining more attention here in Tunis.  With the recent arrest of “eight Islamists from Libya” and the ongoing deteriorating situation in Libya; the words Tunis & security are back on the front page. 

 Tunisia security forces have also stepped up their efforts in the Chaambi mountains, continuing their effective offensive against militants.  With elections slated to take place in November and campaign season starting in the summer; it’s no surprise that things are picking up.  

Focus on the road 

Even with all this, we continue to remind people that driving is our number 1 concern and your highest safety threat in Tunisia.  This week alone we’ve learned of (2) very serious bus accidents.  

This accident took place today around  around Ras Jebel with up to 45 injuries.  

Safe Driver Checklist

Here are a few tips for expat drivers in Tunis: 

  1. Make sure your vehicle paper work is good to go.  (Insurance, ID, Safety Inspection)  
  2. Drive defensively (drive with a sense of purpose)
  3. Make sure you have an insurance form (useful in minor accidents)
  4. Choose your speed (let pedestrians cross but don’t drive overly cautious as this can work against you)

Remember that driving  is your number 1 safety threat…so stay focus out there.  

 

TS Update-(Vehicle Security)

Greetings Expats,

I’ve been really focused this week on residential security and figuring out ways for expats to improve their security setup.  Before I share my next update I wanted to state that there are a lot of positive developments happening in Tunisia.  Also Tunisia is a relatively safe place especially if one compares it to near by countries or major cities.  

But here’s the problem…

Tunisian security forces currently have 3 main priorities:

Tourism, Borders, and Chaambi 

Good priorities but the problem is that local police stations are lacking resources and criminals are starting to exploit this weakness.  This is why “petty crimes”, burglaries, and car thefts are on the rise.    

Police response in local neighborhoods (especially at night) is highly unreliable. In some areas they have only one squad patrol car with a few policemen on duty.  The video below is a prime example, as a criminal calmly selects which car he wishes to break into in broad daylight.  

Vehicle Security

After watching the video you can easily take away a few tips that will help reduce the chances of your vehicle being vandalized or worse: 

  1. Don’t leave valuables visible in your vehicle. 
  2. If you have a garage…use it.
  3. Remember to change your departing times. 
  4. Consider a car alarm. 

Let’s continue to share information and remember to remain aware & engaged.

 

 

Tunisia elections probably in November

Date: May 3, 2014

Source:  Reuters

Brief: T(Reuters) – Tunisia’s next presidential and parliamentary elections will probably be held in the second half of November, the election agency chief said on Saturday, about polls that will mark the country’s final step towards full democracy. Read More

 

TS Update-(May Day Security)

Greetings Expats,

So much going on in Tunis on May 1st so let’s review the security situation.  People often ask me “so how are things in Tunis?”.  Before responding I always take a second to assess the person asking the question so that I can select the version of things I think the person cares about.  

As a security professionals I speak with a wide spectrum of people all with a different take on “how things are going“.  In the end it comes down to a balance between caution & exploration.  

Expat Awareness on May 1st

  • Downtown Tunis:  Habib Bourgiba Avenue will be closed to traffic from 9-3pm.  
  • Gatherings in support of International Workers Day are schedule to take place in many major cities to include Sfax and Sousse.  

Top 3 Recent News Headlines

Tunisian PM says economic reforms will be paced to avoid unrest

Fitch reaffirms its negative Outlook on Tunisia 

Could Tunisia be the next big travel destination? 

Exploring Safely 

As expats we owe it to ourselves to explore our adopted country.  With the right mindset we can safely continue our adventurous journey in North Africa.  

Let’s continue to share practical & relevant information.  Join us on Twitter & Facebook for quick security updates.  

TS Update-(May Day Security)

Greetings Expats,

So much going on in Tunis on May 1st so let’s review the security situation.  People often ask me “so how are things in Tunis?”.  Before responding I always take a second to assess the person asking the question so that I can select the version of things I think the person cares about.  

As a security professionals I speak with a wide spectrum of people all with a different take on “how things are going“.  In the end it comes down to a balance between caution & exploration.  

Expat Awareness on May 1st

  • Downtown Tunis:  Habib Bourgiba Avenue will be closed to traffic from 9-3pm.  
  • Gatherings in support of International Workers Day are schedule to take place in many major cities to include Sfax and Sousse.  

Top 3 Recent News Headlines

Tunisian PM says economic reforms will be paced to avoid unrest

Fitch reaffirms its negative Outlook on Tunisia 

Could Tunisia be the next big travel destination? 

Exploring Safely 

As expats we owe it to ourselves to explore our adopted country.  With the right mindset we can safely continue our adventurous journey in North Africa.  

Let’s continue to share practical & relevant information.  Join us on Twitter & Facebook for quick security updates.  

TS Update-(Petty Crimes on the rise…)

Greetings Expat,

I hope everyone is enjoying the great weather and finding time to explore Tunisia.

images (1)

Screen shot 2014-04-23 at 7.18.44 PM

As a security professional I am always monitoring trends, especially when it comes to expat personal safety & security.  During the last 3 months we’ve seen a steady increase of petty crimes (Carthage, La Marsa, Berges du Lac) specifically in reference to purse snatching, vehicle vandalism, and burglary.

 

images

Of the three crimes on the rise, purse snatching is the one that most concerns me because of the bold nature in which the perpetrators are conducting them.  On one occasion a lady’s purse was snatched in broad daylight while walking through an upscale street in Berges du Lac.  Unharmed, the victim lost all her IDs, house keys, cell phone, and a small amount of cash. Another incident with similar results took place only a few meters from the US Embassy & American school on the La Marsa highway.

Purse Snatch Incident Pic

 

 

Tips to avoid motorcycle purse snatchers

  • Be alert & aware of surroundings.
  • Walk against traffic with handbags kept away from the street side.
  • Be on the lookout for motorcycles.
  • Avoid carrying important documents & items of high worth in purse.

US Embassy Security & Safety Update 

The US Embassy recently updated their safety and security section for Tunisia and it clearly states that “muggings have occurred during daylight hours in upscale neighborhoods; in some cases these encounters have turned violent when the victim tried to resist.”

Compare & Contrast (take a deep breath…)

Tunisia’s crime rate is far below most major cities and we have noted a significant improvement on the part of the security forces in terms of their professionalism & reaction.

Additionally, Tunisians are proud of their beautiful country and determined to make it shine during the tourist season.  As one optimistic Tunisian man puts it:

“Tunisia is ready to bring tourism back,” And we’ll even exceed what we used to achieve, seeing even more tourists than before the revolution.”