LDS Emergency Preparedness

Be Prepared, Not Scared!

Ordinary Citizens can Foil Terrorists

Posted by Elise on January 7, 2012

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William McCarthy, PhD, CPP, president of Threat Research, Inc. (, and former commanding officer of the NYPD Bomb Squad, asserts that we should expect more terrorist attacks to occur here in the US.

It is simply too difficult to stop all of the crazies, whether they are homegrown or “imported.” Awareness remains our best defense. Ordinary people following their instincts foiled would-be terrorists in these recent events…

In New York City’s Times Square, vendors reported to the police a parked vehicle with the engine running, flashing lights and smoke coming out near the backseat. The area was evacuated. Fortunately, the car bomb failed to detonate.

A driver’s behavior—including checking under his car and moving away when he saw a uniformed officer—stirred up suspicion at a New Jersey rest stop. It turned out that he was carrying three powerful homemade bombs in his vehicle.

A plot to kill soldiers at Fort Dix was foiled when a salesperson told police that customers had asked him to convert to a DVD video footage of them firing assault weapons.

The key to awareness: Knowing what “normal” looks like—which cars are regularly in your neighborhood, who makes deliveries at work, etc.—and then paying attention to what is eccentric or out of place. Most people know to report peculiar packages that arrive in the mail and unattended bags. Other red flags…

  • People who are overdressed for the weather.
  • People who move off quickly when seen or approached.
  • People in restricted areas or other places they don’t belong.
  • Vehicles that appear to be carrying heavy weight…are abandoned… illegally parked…leaking fluid other than from engines or fuel tanks.
  • Unusual requests for information about physical access to a home, hospital, sports arena, workplace, etc.
  • Surveillance activity at government buildings, other key facilities and crowded, high-profile places. Is someone scanning with binoculars? Taking photos?
  • On trains, watch for people who place items in a luggage compartment and then move to a different car.
  • People using watercraft should be alert to missing fencing or lighting near dams…boats anchored in areas not typically used for anchoring…unusual diving or night operations…signals flashing between boats.

Many people fail to report suspicious activities because they are afraid of being criticized if it is not a real threat. But if you sense something suspicious, report it right away. You never know when a threat will be real. We all have a role in keeping ourselves and our nation safe, so continue to be very vigilant.

Source:  Bottom Line/Personal
December 15, 2011

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