The world we live in has changed probably forever. The horror that befell the innocents in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, keenly affected us all. While the tragedy brought with it a new sense of American vulnerability, it also renewed our appreciation of the freedoms that we all enjoy and hold dear and rekindled the American spirit. We are now faced with new dangers, but we are a great people and will rise to the task and acquit ourselves just as Americans have always done in times of crisis. As before, we ill not face these challenges alone, but as a nation galvanized by our common history, democratic ideals, compassion and enduring optimism. In other words, the safety of each of us, has become the responsibility of all of us.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office maintains an Office of Homeland Security which works in close cooperation with all of the local police departments within Monmouth County , as well as the New Jersey State Police, the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, and the Joint Terrorism Task Force which is operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Terrorism Defined: Terrorism is the unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government or civilian population, or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives. The goal of terrorism is to create fear and panic hoping that this will lead to the disruption of our daily services and our way of life.
The public is strongly encouraged to report suspicious activity. The prompt and detailed reporting of suspicious activity can help prevent violent crime and terrorist attacks. If you see or become aware of suspicious activity that is emergent in nature, please report it to you local police department or 911. Local law enforcement officers can respond quickly. Once they assess the situation, they can obtain additional support. If you know of, suspect, or hear of any information regarding anyone planning or plotting a terror attack, you must notify the authorities immediately.
New Jersey is centrally located with a population of almost nine million people, and it has a vast transportation infrastructure of roads, bridges, tunnels, rail systems, buses, ports and airports which are vital and potential targets of terrorism. Other potential targets could include:
- Schools and educational facilities
- Commercial buildings, shopping centers and government buildings
- Religious facilities
- Financial Centers
- Health Care facilities
- Communication facilities
- sports arenas and entertainment centers
- Military facilities
- Utilities (fuel storage, electrical, gas lines, and storage, etc.)
- Any site where large amounts of people gather
If you see something, say something.
July 2010, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), launched a national “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign – a simple and effective programs to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and violent crimes, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper state and local law enforcement authorities.
For additional information regarding the “If You See Something, Say Something” public awareness campaign visit:
Learn How to Spot Suspicious Activity
Law enforcement agencies need citizens to report suspicious activity, even if it ultimately turns out to be of a non-criminal nature. Without sources of information there would be no investigation. Your judgment is the most important element in determining what is suspicious. In most cases, it may not be a singe indicatory but a combination of indicators occurring at a particular time and place that will accurately identity a suspicious person or act.
When determining whether activity is suspicious, please remember to focus on the actual behavior. Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation are not suspicious.
Use your judgment in determining whether or not there is unusual or suspicious activity in your community or work environment. All you really need to so is to pay attention to those activities and people who seem out of place. Never confront or try to directly investigate something that is suspicious and, never put yourself in danger, call the police.
Eight Signs of Terrorism
- Surveillance: Terrorist cells have been known to record and monitor activities by taking pictures, video taping and making drawings. Be alert to those individuals you see at emergency scenes on a repeat basis. Being observant supports homeland security and fire prevention efforts.
- Information Gathering: Be aware of individuals attempting to gain information about operations, staffing and security protocols that appear to be more than just typical curiosity.
- Test of Security: Be alert to any attempts to measure reaction times to entering restricted areas. Be alert to who is in and around your station. Emergency vehicles, and uniforms have been stolen in an attempt to use them during acts of terrorism.
- Funding: Suspicious transactions involving large cash payments, deposits, withdrawals, or transfers of money; bulk cash smuggling; suspected financial fraud; sale of counterfeit goods; or misleading charities.
- Acquiring Supplies: Through your full-time or part -time employment be alert to those attempting to obtain explosives, weapons, uniforms, badges, credentials, etc. Amassing large quantities of equipment should send up a red flag if the individual acquiring those materials has no business doing so.
- Suspicious Persons: another pre-incident indicator is observing people acting suspiciously. It could be someone trying to conceal themselves, someone asking unusual or probing questions, someone who is in a location that they should not be, or someone who is our of place in the current surroundings and their demeanor is suspicious.
- Dry or Trial Run: Be alert to people that just look our of place or you have seen at multiple emergency scenes as they could be part of a dry run exercise for illegal activity. Be alert to multiple false alarms to the same location, especially areas considered critical infrastructure such as government buildings and schools.
- Deploying assets: Beware of what looks like people and supplies getting into position to commit an act of violence. Remember scene safety, if you spot something or get information on the way to a call that suggests you and your crew would be in danger consider staging at a safe distance and follow your department’s scene safety protocols.
Reporting Suspicious Activity
When reporting suspicious activity, it is helpful to five the most accurate description possible, including:
- A brief description of the activity
- The date, time and location of the activity
- Physical identifiers of anyone you observe
- Description of vehicles
- Information about where the people involved in the suspicious activity may have gone
- Your name and contact information (optional)
Of you can remember the Five “W’s”
- What is happening?
- Who is doing it?
- Where is it taking place?
- When did you observe it?
- Why is it suspicious?
If you encounter suspicious activity (especially of it is emergent in nature) you should immediately report it to your local police department or call 91. In addition, suspicious activity can be reported to the New Jersey Office Homeland and Preparedness which operates a professionally staffed 24 Hour Toll Free Tip Line by calling 866-4-SAFE-NJ or 866-472-3365.
- Reporting can also be made by calling 211
- Faxing (609)530-3650
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
National Terrorism Advisory System
The National Terrorism Advisory System or NTAS, replaces the color-coded Homeland Security Advisory System. The new system was designed to more effectively communicate information about terrorist threats by providing timely, detailed information to the public, government agencies, first responders, airports and other transportation hubs, and the private sector.
After reviewing the available information, the Secretary of Homeland Security will decide, in coordination with other federal entities, whether a NTAS Alert should be issued. NYAS Alerts will only be issued when credible information is available.
The National Terrorism Advisory System has two classifications of threat level warning alerts. They are as follows:
Imminent Threat Alert – Warns of a credible, specific, and impending threat against the United States.
Elevated Threat Alert- Warns of a credible terrorist threat against the United States
The NTSA Alerts will be based on the nature of the threat. In some cases, alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in others, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through both official and media channels. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has added Bulletins to the advisory system to be able to communicate current developments or general trends regarding threats of terrorism. Because DHS may issue NTAS Bulletins in circumstances not warranting a more specific warning, NTAS Bulletins provide timely information to stakeholders and members of the public.
Using available information, the bulletins and the alerts are intended to provide a concise summary of the potential threat, information about the actions being taken for public safety, and the recommended steps that individuals, communities, businesses and governments can take to help prevent, mitigate, or respond to the threat.
For additional information regarding the National Terrorism Advisory System you can visit www.dhs.gove/alerts
Useful web sites for additional information: