Again: Is it still safe to travel to Germany?

On Monday, November 19, 2016: A person did drive a truck into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 and injuring at least 50 people.

The attack is the latest in a series of incidents in Germany in the past months and years.

Recent incidents in Germany in the past couple of months include:

24 July 2016, an explosion in Ansbach killed the attacker and injured 12 others.

22 July 2016, a lone gunman attacked the Olympia shopping center in Munich killing ten people, including himself, and injuring a number of others.

18 July 2016, a man armed with an axe and knife injured five people on a train travelling between the towns of Treuchtlingen and Wurzburg.

The German police continues to monitor a number of individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist-related activity and have disrupted a number of terror plots by arresting several terror suspects i.e. in the Northern towns of Ahrensburg, Grosshansdorf, Reinbek … among others in Germany.

Germany has increased its security in the light of recent and past terror attacks.

When media is reporting about possible terrorist attacks in Europe, Germany is (always) among the countries mentioned as a possible target for the terrorists. This certainly should not be a reason to avoid travelling to Germany, but there are a few simple tips that can help you avoid getting caught up in a risky situation.

Keep up to date with the news, and travel warnings when you plan a trip to Germany. The German government does an excellent job of keeping travelers, visitors and people informed about possible increased threats from terrorists or other third parties.

If possible and appropriate, hire a professional and local transportation service, where the driver is security trained and speaks English or your mother tongue. In addition, it might be advisable to hire also a local and experienced executive protection service in Germany, which can assist in identifying risky areas in German cities, in order to avoid an increased risk or threat in visiting sketchy areas such as red light districts or areas with increased criminal activities a.s.o..

Make yourself familiar with the principle of HIDE – RUN – (FIGHT) – TELL … which is very useful during an active shooter attack and can increase the chance of survival.

Pay attention to your direct and indirect environment. Many times, a threat can be identified in advance, before getting too close to somebody.

From a security perspective it is also advised to stay away from public events such as concerts, Christmas markets, new years’ eve celebration and so on … but isn´t that what a trip to Germany, especially during Christmas time and at the end of a year, is all about?!

The German authorities maintain increased security measures as a precaution around the country, including at public buildings and transportation hubs. The German law enforcement and intelligence services are one of the best world-wide, no doubt.

Nevertheless, there is no and there cannot be a guaranteed “100% Security”: It is not the question if we will see another terror attack in Germany … it is more the question when will we see the next attack?

A very difficult question has been asked many times before:

Should we change the way we live?

Nobody can answer this question for another person.

Just one last thing … we all might have to adapt to certain best practice security principles and security behaviors in our day-to-day activities and life, in order to mitigate certain risks and threats … whether if we like it or not.