Terrorist Activity

The U.S. Department of Justice defines terrorism as the unlawful use of force or violence committed by a group or individual against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.

Terrorism is a politically motivated crime to elicit fear, panic and disorder. Terrorists use many different criminal acts to support their mission including kidnapping, cyber terrorism, illegal drug dealing, identity theft, fraud, burglary and auto theft.

The 7 Signs Of Terrorism

  1. Surveillance
    Recording or monitoring activities. May include drawing diagrams, note taking, use of cameras, binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices or possessing floor plans or blueprints of key facilities.
  2. Elicitation
    Attempts to obtain operation, security and personnel-related information regarding a key facility. May be made by mail, fax, e-mail, telephone or in person.
  3. Tests of Security
    Attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches or to penetrate physical security barriers or procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.
  4. Acquiring Supplies
    Attempts to improperly acquire items that could be used in a terrorist act. May include the acquisition of explosives, weapons, harmful chemicals, flight manuals, law enforcement or military equipment, uniforms, identification badges or the equipment to manufacture false identification.
  5. Suspicious Persons
    Someone who does not appear to belong in a workplace, neighborhood or business establishment due to their behavior, including unusual questions or statements they make.
  6. Dry Runs/Trial Runs
    Behavior that appears to be preparation for a terrorist act without actually committing the act. Activity could include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow.
  7. Deploying Assets
    Placing people, equipment and supplies into position to commit the act. This is the last opportunity to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.

Tips For Reporting

Being aware of signs indicative of terrorist planning can aid law enforcement in the discovery of possible terrorist activity. If you believe you have information that would help authorities, do not take any action other than to inform your local police department or FBI as soon as possible. To report any suspicious activity:

  • Call 911 for life-threatening emergencies only.
  • Call the Port Washington Police Department non-emergency number (262-284-2611) to report any behavior or event that seems to be outside the norm or is frightening but does not immediately endanger lives or property.
  • Call your local FBI field office. To find your local office, go to http://www.fbi.gov/contact/fo/fo.htm or check inside the front cover of your local phone book. You can also contact the FBI at 1-866-483-5137 or submit a tip on their Web site at https://tips.fbi.gov/.