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Opinion

Ohio Homeland Security asking public to be aware

1/17/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Officials from Ohio Homeland Security are stressing the importance of a well-informed and aware public in order to detect, deter and prevent actual terrorist events in the state. An engaged and aware public is crucial in deterring these threats and maintaining the safety and security of all Ohioans.

The public’s reporting of suspicious activity is one of our best defenses against terrorist threats and our greatest resource to building resilience. Every day, members of the public work with law enforcement officers to help keep our communities safe by reporting activities that are out of the ordinary and suspicious. These reports play a vital role in countering terrorism and crime. An aware and engaged public that understands what constitutes unusual and suspicious behavior is essential to protecting our communities from terrorist threats.

Examples of unusual activities that should cause a heightened sense of suspicion:

• Monitoring personnel or vehicles entering/leaving facilities or parking area;

• Burns on body, missing finger(s) or hand, bloody clothing, bleached body hair or bright colored stains on clothing; switch or wires concealed in hand, clothing or backpack;

• Unusual or prolonged interest in security measures or personnel, security cameras, entry points and access controls, perimeter barriers (fences/walls) and unattended train or bus;

• Purposely placing objects (e.g., packages, luggage, vehicles) in sensitive or vulnerable areas to observe security responses;

• Individuals or actions that are out of place for their surroundings (e.g., over- or underdressed for the weather); and

• Unusual, vague or cryptic threats, warnings or comments about harming others.

Some of these activities, taken individually, could be innocent and must be examined by law enforcement professionals in a larger context to determine where there is a basis to investigate. The activities outlined above are by no means all-inclusive but have been compiled from a review of terrorist events over several years.

If You See Something, Say Something™. Contact Ohio Homeland Security at 877-OHS-INTEL, or for emergencies, call 9-1-1.

Editor’s note: The Ohio State Highway Patrol submitted this information on behalf of Ohio Homeland Security. For more information on the agency, visit www.homelandsecurity.ohio.gov.

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