Four people have been killed after a driver "mowed down pedestrians", in Melbourne's central business district on Friday (20th), Sky News Australia stated. It has since been reported that a baby being pushed in a pram was among those killed. But as we come to terms with what happened, questions need to be asked. First of all why did tragedy occur? Second of all why is it so difficult to stop such attacks and third of all, how do we try to stop further attacks like this in the future?

What exactly happened?

Let us first of all examine what exactly happened.

The Telegraph newspaper reported that a man "deliberately drove" his vehicle into a crowded street in Australia's second largest city. Let us pose the first question, why did this tragedy occur? It was claimed by Sky News that the driver had a history of violence and drug and mental health issues. BBC News said that the incident was linked to a stabbing in the southeast of Melbourne earlier on Friday. Having been seen driving in erratic circles in the middle of a major intersection in downtown Melbourne, the driver turned onto the Bourke Street Mall, a pedestrian-only road and deliberately collided with pedestrians before continuing onto a sidewalk and hitting more people. The information was provided by Victoria State Police acting Commander Stuart Bateson.

Other similar attacks

What is interesting is that this form of attack has become increasingly common in recent times. In Israel on January 8th of this year, a truck plowed into a group of soldiers in Jerusalem, killing four and injuring many more. Even in Europe, there have been examples. In July of last year in Nice, France, a lorry slammed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day and killed 84 people, including 10 children, the IB Times reported.

Why so difficult to stop?

However, although it is important to state is that this was not a terror attacks, the method is the same. But the next question to ask is, why is it so difficult to stop such attacks? The reasons are clear. Whilst there may be Intel on certain people, those considered a threat to the security of a nation, it is difficult to prevent a driver killing people if he or she is working alone.

Furthermore, to carry out such an attack, one does not need explosives or bomb-making equipment. They simply need a vehicle. What is also a problem is that there is little time to prepare for such an attack if there is no prior knowledge that it is about to occur.

But what can we try to do?

But the last question to ask is, how do we try to stop such attacks like this in the future? What is clear is that the police forces must try. Greater police presence on the streets and in populated areas is needed first of all. Greater focus on social media sites such as Facebook to see if there are any warning signs or information is important also. But other than that, there is not much than can be done, particularly if the culprit has no ties or links to any terrorist network or organisation. And that there is the problem.