Once again, the potential of a terror attack taking place within the United States is making headlines. The FBI has recently charged multiple suspects in an alleged terrorism investigation. According to media reports, the target of this would-be terror attack may have been various high traffic locations in New York City. Also, federal agents, in separate incidents, have made two additional arrests in alleged potential terror plans to bomb a skyscraper and federal courthouse.
In addition, the FBI and Homeland Security have issued law enforcement bulletins asking for heightened awareness for possible terror attacks at luxury hotels, entertainment venues, sports stadiums, and other locations that may attract crowds.
Can you really help stop a terror attack?
According to the FBI, the answer is yes.
The FBI says there are seven things you could do that might help prevent a terrorist from carrying out his or her act. Surveillance: Are you aware of anyone video recording or monitoring activities, taking notes, using cameras, maps, binoculars, etc., near key facilities/events? Suspicious questioning: Are you aware of anyone attempting to gain information in person, by phone, mail, e-mail, etc., regarding a key facility or people who work there? Tests of security: Are you aware of any attempts to penetrate or test physical security or procedures at a key facility/event? Acquiring supplies: Are you aware of anyone attempting to improperly acquire explosives, weapons, ammunition, dangerous chemicals, uniforms, badges, flight manuals, access cards, or identification for a key facility/event or to legally obtain items under suspicious circumstances that could be used in a terrorist attack? Suspicious persons: Are you aware of anyone who does not appear to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment, or near a key facility/event? "Dry runs": Have you observed any behavior that appears to be preparation for a terrorist act, such as mapping out routes, playing out scenarios with other people, monitoring key facilities/events, timing traffic lights or traffic flow, or other suspicious activities? Deploying assets: Have you observed abandoned vehicles, stockpiling of suspicious materials, or persons being deployed near a key facility/event?
Quick Security Tip: Per the FBI, if you answered yes to any of the above . . . if you have observed any suspicious activity that may relate to terrorism . . . immediately contact the Joint Terrorist Task Force or law enforcement/counterterrorism agency closest to you.
According to the FBI, no matter where you live in the world: Your assistance is needed in preventing terrorist acts.
It's a fact that certain kinds of activities can indicate would-be terrorist plans, especially when they occur at or near high profile sites or places where large numbers of people gather — like government buildings, military facilities, utilities, bus or train stations, and major public events. Again, if you see or know about suspicious activities, like the ones listed above, report them immediately to the proper law enforcement authorities.
For more information on this vital subject, go to www.FBI.gov.
My Final Thoughts: Americans must do their part to help keep the country safe. All of us can be the extra eyes and ears of law enforcement by immediately reporting any suspicious activities to the proper authorities. Like the FBI says: Your tip could save the lives of innocent people.
Copyright 2009 by Bruce Mandelblit
Bruce Mandelblit (www.CrimeZilla.com) is a nationally known security and safety journalist, as well as a recently retired, highly decorated reserve law enforcement officer. His e-mail address is CrimePrevention123@yahoo.com.
This column is provided for general information purposes only. Please check with your local law enforcement agency and legal professional for information specific to you and your jurisdiction.
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