By Frank Lewis
The latest polls show that the number one issue among Americans is national security. Current information from the U.S. State Department suggests that ISIL (aka Da’esh), al-Qa’ida, Boko Haram, and other terrorist groups continue to plan terrorist attacks in multiple regions. These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics, using conventional and non-conventional weapons and targeting both official and private interests.
What we hear from local authorities is – “See something-say something.” What should we, as vigilant Americans look for?
“We do a pretty good job in this country of protecting the hard targets, such as military bases, government buildings, major sporting events, transportation, and critical infrastructure,” Portsmouth Police Chief Robert Ware told the Daily Times. “The recent events in Paris show how difficult it can be to protect the soft targets. We live in a free society where it is common to gather in restaurants, malls, houses of worship, and many other public places. As we go about our travels, it is critically important that we remain vigilant to suspicious activities.”
Ware went on to explain what he means by suspicious activities.
“Suspicious activities often include prolonged surveillance and/or photography, unusually in depth questioning of security procedures, peculiar purchases, and attempts to gain unauthorized access to facilities. Often times, these activities are observed by citizens going about their daily routines,” Ware said. “Be aware of those around you. It is not easy to conceal large weapons and other devices without altering one’s appearance. Tips from the public are often the single most important pieces of information that are used to initiate investigations that disrupt plots and prevent harm to our communities.”
U.S. citizens are being urged to exercise vigilance when in public places or using transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid large crowds or crowded places. Exercise particular caution during the holiday season and at holiday festivals or events.
“The upcoming holiday weekend is a time for all Americans to give thanks; thanks for their freedoms and the people who stand guard day in and day out to protect those freedoms. It is important that we do not let our freedoms be sabotaged by the evil of those who wish to take that freedom away. At the same time, we should enjoy those freedoms with due vigilance. Vigilance not only includes recognizing something that just doesn’t seem right, but also saying something when we do observe suspicious activity,” Ware said. “Those who wish to do us harm will continue to look for ways to exploit our safety and security measures so they can carry out their desire to impact harm against those who do not share their beliefs. Law enforcement works extremely hard at taking that single tip and piecing it together with other information to determine if your observation is an innocent act or part of a much bigger picture. But that process may not begin without your help. ‘See Something, Say Something.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.