22 March 2021
By Robert Graves, Federation Regional Security Advisor
As Spring and Passover approach, many of us are thinking about gathering and what it may look like to return to activities as we did them pre-pandemic. Throughout our plans and activities, we should ensure that safety and security remain central themes. This includes having good situational awareness and reporting suspicious activities.
The foundation of strong safety and security is situational awareness – knowing what is going on around you, recognizing potential hazards or dangers, anticipating their impact, and considering how best to respond. Good situational awareness includes reporting suspicious activities. If you have any doubt about something you see, there is no doubt you should report it to appropriate authorities. Our law enforcement partners would far rather you report something that turns out to be nothing than to not report something that turns into a tragedy.
Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies have identified numerous activities which could indicate pre-operational planning associated with terrorism, or other crimes, when supported by other facts or circumstances. While some of these activities are inherently criminal behaviors, others are not and may be constitutionally protected activity. Nonetheless, we encourage you to report these things to local law enforcement if you observe them:
Defined Criminal Activity
• Expressed or Implied Threat: Communicating a spoken or written threat to commit a crime.
• Cyberattack: Compromising or attempting to compromise or disrupt an organization’s information technology infrastructure.
• Theft/Loss/Diversion: Stealing or diverting something associated with a facility or institution.
• Sabotage/Tampering/Vandalism: Damaging, manipulating, defacing, or destroying part of a facility or institution.
• Breach/Attempted Intrusion: Unauthorized personnel attempting to enter or actually entering a facility or institution.
• Misrepresentation: Presenting false information or misusing insignia, documents, and/or identification to represent one’s affiliation as a means of concealing possible illegal activity.
Potential Criminal or Non-Criminal Activity
• Eliciting Information: Questioning or otherwise soliciting information at a level beyond mere curiosity about a public or private event or facility in a manner that would arouse suspicion.
• Testing or Probing of Security: Deliberate interactions with, or challenges to, installations, personnel, or systems that reveal security capabilities in a manner that would arouse suspicion.
• Photography: Taking pictures or video of persons, facilities, buildings, or infrastructure in an unusual or surreptitious manner that would arouse suspicion.
• Observation/Surveillance: Demonstrating unusual or prolonged interest in facilities, buildings, or institutions beyond mere casual or professional interest and in a manner that would arouse suspicion.
If you have Crime Prevention questions or concerns, contact your local law enforcement agency. You can also contact Regional Security Advisor Robert Graves or Deputy Regional Security Advisor Chris Usher, for assistance.