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If you want to protect something valuable then it is necessary to apply the onion ring principle in which multiple layers of physical and technical security are required. The aim is to deter criminals in the expectation that they will seek softer targets to attack. For example a security guard whose role is to carry money across the pavement between a bank and an armoured vehicle needs to be smartly dressed and alert. He should take care to use the equipment provided by his employer. In some countries he will be armed. In others he will carry cash in special electronic security boxes programmed to destroy the contents if stolen. A guard who is untidy, shows no vigilance, and fails to use his security equipment correctly is more likely to be robbed.

However, the amount of cash carried across the pavement by a security guard is small when compared with the value of cash inside his armoured vehicle, or the amounts stored in security depots and bank cash centres. Criminals in Europe have regularly targeted such locations. Favoured methods include ram attacks using large construction machinery, explosives, and on one occasion in Stockholm criminals landed a helicopter on the roof of a cash centre. Not every attack results in a loss and in many incidents the cost of repairing the building has been more than the financial loss due to the robbery. But the attacks have caused security companies and banks to invest in even greater protection and better procedures to reduce the risk of a successful attack.

The largest robbery in the UK in recent years did not result from a large-scale physical assault on a building. Criminals managed to steal £53 million in February 2006 by kidnapping the wife and child of a cash centre manager. Because of the duress he was under the manager cooperated. He exploited weaknesses in security to walk the criminals into his cash centre during the night shift. While most of the criminals involved in this robbery are now in prison, approximately £30 million of the stolen cash has never been found.

The Apostle Paul advises us to engage in target hardening and use the onion ring principle to resist Satan. In Ephesians chapter six Paul instructs believers to “put on the full armour of God.” Paul knew that Satan views all followers of Jesus as legitimate targets. Satan does not differentiate when he comes to rob and steal and destroy, but he does seem to enjoy hitting high profile targets such as church leaders. Many of us are soft targets and easily defeated yet God has made everything we need to become hard or harder targets freely available. The only real demand He makes of us is our time. Because it takes time to put on armour.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8.)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV)

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