Video: How to Prevent Terrorist Attacks by Spotting Suspicious Activity

The threat of terrorism committed both by foreign and domestic terrorists is an unfortunate reality for US citizens. Knowing what to be aware of and how to handle the threat is critical for keeping us and our communities safe.

The informative video we’re sharing is “Make the Call’, a Department of Homeland Security grant funded project produced by the City of Houston’s Mayor’s Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security.

The main theme of the video is exercising basic situational awareness – being aware of people and things that don’t ‘fit’ and/or are outright suspicious:

1)  If you witness something that seems suspicious don’t rely on others to take action. If you see something, say something and ‘make the call’.

2)  If you see someone leave a bag or package – don’t touch it, report it. Intentionally leaving bags or packages in a public place is a potential threat.

3)  While it’s not unusual to see people taking pictures or videos, if you see someone trying to conceal what they’re doing, taking pictures of exits, security and/or restricted areas, immediately notify security or the police.

4)  If you see someone hanging around for no apparent reason and they’re asking inappropriate questions about schedules or the facility, or if they try to avoid security when approached ‘make the call’.

5)  People dress for the season. If you see someone wearing heavy or bulky clothing that’s obviously wrong for the time of year and they’re carrying suspicious bags or acting very nervous they could be carrying explosives or a weapon(s). Don’t be a hero! Try to place a solid object between you and the threat, stay low to the ground and call the police or security immediately.

6)  While secured buildings like apartments, offices etc. with multiple entrances and exits may feel secure, most of us are guilty of letting people in when we shouldn’t – maybe because the person does something nice like holding the door open. However, people trying to gain access to buildings without permission or credentials are suspicious, so if you see someone where they don’t belong, ‘make the call’.

7)  Big events and open access events makes security challenging and terrorists know it. Venues like that are prime targets for massive attacks and terrorists may use trucks, cars or vans to conduct surveillance or detonate an explosive device. If you see vehicles that are intentionally left, parked in prohibited areas or left sitting unattended for prolonged periods of time don’t ignore your instincts. Vehicles parked where they don’t belong are a potential threat and you should immediately notify security or the police.

The sad reality is that terrorism is a fact of life. With horrific terrorist acts being committed on US soil like 9/11 and the Oklahoma City bombing, the majority of us have long given up any Pollyanna attitude that ‘Things like that just don’t happen here.’ We’re all in this together and each of us has a role to play to help protect each other and our communities.