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What is Terrorism?

There are a variety of definitions for terrorism. In general, it is considered to be the unlawful use, or threatened use, of force or violence against persons, societies, cultures or governments in order to create a desired change. The change sought may be political, religious or social in nature.

Terrorist operations usually begin with extensive planning. You can help prevent and detect terrorism – and other types of crime – by watching out for suspicious activities and reporting them to the proper authorities. Be alert for the eight signs of terrorism!

Your role in combating terrorism begins with being alert to your community and surroundings.

Eight Signs of Terrorism

  1. Surveillance – Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras, note taking, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps, or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.
  2. Elicitation – People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities, or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, e-mail, telephone, or in person. This could also include eavesdropping or friendly conversation.
  3. Tests of Security – Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches, attempts to penetrate physical security barriers, or monitor procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Funding – Suspicious transactions involving large cash payments, deposits, or withdrawals are common signs of terrorist funding. Collections for donations, the solicitation for money and criminal activity are also warning signs.
  5. Supplies – Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, etc. This also includes acquiring military uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges (or the equipment to manufacture such items) and any other controlled items.
  6. Impersonation – People who don't seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment, or anywhere else. This includes suspicious border crossings, the impersonation of law enforcement, military personnel, or company employees is also a sign.
  7. Rehearsal – Putting people in position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act. An element of this activity could also include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow.
  8. Deployment – People and supplies getting into position to commit the act. This is the person's last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.

Call 9-1-1 to report all suspicious incidents or unusual activity that may require immediate police response.

Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities:

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