PIERRE, S.D. – South Dakota’s Homeland Security Office is encouraging citizens to watch for eight signs that could indicate possible terrorist activity.
State Homeland Security Director Steve Pluta stresses that while there are no current terrorism threats identified in South Dakota, people still need to be observant.
“The recent terrorist events throughout the world have shown that such activity can take place anywhere,” he says. “By knowing these signs, citizens can identify behaviors possibly associated with terrorist activity and notify law enforcement if they see anything suspicious.”
Pluta says the eight signs and related examples are:
- Surveillance: If people are conducting a survey of the target to determine security strengths and weaknesses. This may include taking pictures of access points, security personnel, and security cameras.
- Information Gathering: If an individual is asking probing questions about security or operations related to an intended target.
- Testing Security: Are they trying to find out how long and from where law enforcement or security will respond to an incident? This may include leaving behind an unattended package or trespassing.
- Funding: Collecting money needed for weapons and supplies. Ways to raise funds include drug trafficking or soliciting fake charitable contributions.
- Acquiring Supplies: This may include weapons, transportation and communications equipment. Those involved may stockpile items, make strange purchases or bulk purchases of chemicals such as household cleaners, fertilizer or beauty supplies. They may pay for large transactions with cash or pre-paid credit cards.
- Impersonation: This includes the use of aliases or impersonation of first responders, maintenance workers or employees. They may present false documents or identification and wear incomplete uniforms.
- Rehearsal: They may rehearse the incident several times to include testing weapons, putting their people into place and testing emergency response times.
- Deployment: Getting into position and ready to execute the operation.
“All of us need to be watching for suspicious or unusual behavior,” he says. “If you notice somebody paying repeated close attention to a particular building or any other unusual activity as mentioned, you should call law enforcement.”
Since July, South Dakota has participated in the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. It was originally implemented by the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority and licensed to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a nationwide campaign. Pluta says it is another way to encourage people to report possible suspicious or unusual behavior.
To alert authorities of any suspicious behavior, call 844-373-7233 (844-3SD-SAFE). The tip line is not a substitute for 911. Citizens should still call 911 for emergencies.
For more on the national program, click onto https://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something .
The South Dakota Homeland Security Office is part of the state Department of Public Safety.