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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

New DHS Video To Help Retailers Stop Terrorism Says Citizens Have “Obligation To Help…Because Sometimes Ordinary People Can Stop Extraordinary Events” — Why Not Show It To Broader Public?

June 2nd, 2010 · 1 Comment

Via the National Terror Alert Twitter feed, I just watched an interesting video produced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), “What’s in Store: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Events,” aimed at helping retail employees spot suspicious activity. According to the video’s transcript:

“We all share the responsibility to fight terror and criminal misconduct. But as someone who works in a store, mall, shopping center, or market, you have an obligation to help. Because sometimes ordinary people can stop extraordinary events…

When you witness things like this people leaving packages or bags behind…strangers taking photographs or video…drivers leaving vehicles in odd places the temptation will be strong. You will want to ignore your instincts…turn away…assume someone else will act if necessary. But the threat is real. Report suspicious behavior.”

This video was made for the retail industry, but the “suspicious activity” examples shown include mall customers making observations, and so it would be useful for any citizen to see. I have argued previously for an expansion of the “See Something, Say Something” campaign by giving the public more information. This type of video offers the type of more specific guidance I would suggest be provided to the broader population.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “What’s in Store: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Events” training video.

The National Terror Alert reports that DHS held a conference call last week asking the retail sector to heighten its level of awareness and report anything suspicious to law enforcement. The video is meant to be used as a training tool:

According to the Department of Homeland Security, businesses have to operate under the premise that other operatives are in the country and could advance plotting with little or no warning.” They also said U.S. officials “lack insights in specific details, timing and intended targets,” but trends indicate terrorists are looking for “smaller, more achievable attacks against easily accessible targets.”

During the call with business leaders, Homeland Security officials requested private sector companies to consider the following points:

*Institute aggressive awareness campaigns

*Identify entrance areas where crowds will collect and common traffic choke points exist.

*Pre-identify primary and secondary evacuation routes.

*Look at how you asses unattended vehicles in your area.

*Vary security patrol and surveillance routines.

*Rely on the people working in your buildings and stores every day. These folks will be more aware of things out of place in their normal environment.

*Remain alert for potential secondary devices. (In one case, small devices were used to force an evacuation, then larger devices were triggered to kill people.)

“What’s In Store” is one of several instructional videos that can be found on DHS’ Commercial Facilities Sector Training & Resources webpage.

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Tags: Department of Homeland Security · See Something/Terrorism Tips

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