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Identify and report suspicious activity

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Krista Fitzgerald
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Antiterrorism Staff NCO
Going to the movies or out for ice cream is an everyday event for most of us. Have you ever noticed anyone taking pictures of the store you were going to or drawing a diagram of where you were? Did you think this was odd? Probably not. Now if I asked you these same questions however, this time the location was the front gate of a military installation, you would probably call the Eagle Eyes notification line with the information. if you think about it, the areas that you visit off base everyday should be treated no differently than those owned by the government. When frequenting off-base establishments in the area, it is almost a given that military personnel will be in the facility because of the high population of military persons. These are considered "soft" targets because they have the target audience that would be appealing to a terrorist present without the security of a military installation. We all need to be aware of our surroundings no matter where we go. If something does not seem right, then it most likely isn't. Areas where large numbers of people gather can be very appealing targets for terrorists. Shopping malls, fairs and movie theaters are all good examples. There may be signs around you that have gone unnoticed. This is especially important during the summer months because there are a lot of opportunities for large gatherings. Sporting events, picnics, concerts, parks, zoos and pools are all potential soft targets. Graffiti, also known as tagging, is a form of suspicious activity commonly affiliated with local gangs or other outlaw groups. It destroys property, instills fear in those who understand which group it belongs to, and costs money to erase - not to mention the possible loss of business that someone may incur because customers are afraid to enter the facility. It could also be a sign that unwanted activity is closer to your neighborhood than you may have realized. Catching signs like this early and getting police involved could prevent further activity before it reaches a level of real concern. Prevention is a lot more effective than eradication after the fact. Other forms of suspicious activities you should report if observed are unattended packages, briefcases, satchels or bags in the area. If you notice attempts to access restricted areas, including hallways and electrical rooms, report it. When you observe unattended vehicles parked in unauthorized parking areas outside your facility, don't ignore them, inquire about them. Awareness is the key to protecting yourself against acts of terrorism. When reporting, take down as many details as possible, including vehicle description, make, model and license plate, a description of the personnel involved and the activity they are involved in. The more detail you are able to provide the better. No detail is too small; however, avoid putting yourself in danger to get information. Be cautious but stay alert. It's better to report suspicious looking activity that turns out to be innocent than to keep silent and allow terrorist activity to go unreported. You can report suspicious activity by calling the Security Forces Control Center at 394-2800. You can also report the information to your unit antiterrorism representative or contact the Wing Antiterrorism Office at 394-2089/5247/1775 if you are unsure of how to report what you have seen. The important thing is to report it. The information you think is nothing may mean a lot more to those in the position of protecting you.