Domestic terrorism is defined by the United States Department of Defense as "the unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives."
Law enforcement cannot fight domestic terrorism on its own. Police officers cannot be in all places at all times. Law enforcement must have the cooperation of the community in order to be effective. Law enforcement asks all citizens to assist in keeping everyone safe by being the eyes and ears of the community.
Alert community members who are aware of what to look for, what to remember, and what to do with that information are one of the best tools that we can use in order to work together to help combat domestic terrorism.
Awareness is the key. Regrettably terrorists do not wear placards that identify them for who they are. Unfortunately we can use only general rules of thumb to go by. Read the information on this page to help identify possible risks in your community.
Look for the following red flags in your community:
- Unusual interest in public utilities; large groups of people, i.e. sporting events, government buildings, military installations, transportation centers; financial institutions; or religious centers
- Unusual inquiries regarding security measures
- Suspicious activity, i.e. note taking, picture taking, or video taping higher risk targets as outlined above
- Fraudulent identification
- Unusual behavior, i.e. inappropriate clothing for the current weather conditions, unusually loose clothing, or unusually large or heavy bag or backpack
- Repetitious unusual behavior, i.e. observation of same person or same vehicle making frequent trips to the same location. terrorists frequently will make every effort to conduct a "dry run" prior to committing an act of terrorism.
- Unusual rentals, purchases, or inquiries regarding hazardous materials
Try to remember the following information when you spot suspicious behavior:
- Complete description of person including: age, sex, height, weight, hair, scars, marks, tattoos
- Vehicle description and last known direction of travel including: tag number, year, make, model, body type, number of passengers, unusual descriptors, i.e., bumper stickers or damage
Reporting Suspicious Behavior
Assist law enforcement in allocating limited resources in the direction of possible suspicious activity and allow police to handle the situation from there.
Call your local police department, or in the case of an emergency, dial 911.