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Am I a target? Before the question can be answered, one must have an understanding of what terrorism is about. TERRORISM – using force or violence, or threats of it, to intimidate people in order to meet an objective.

Terrorist organizations can be well organized, have extensive training, and have the support of a foreign government. Motives can be political, nationalist, religious or special interest. However, no matter what the motive, terrorists are extremists. Terrorist operations can include, but are not limited to, bombing, arson, assassination, kidnapping, skyjacking, car jacking, maiming and weapons of mass destruction. Also associated are international narcotics support, ecological, robbery, extortion, etc.

Terrorists will try to gather as much information as possible about a target before they decide to attack it. One method used to rate a target from both the terrorist standpoint as well as the protection standpoint is the CARVER Method. This stands for Criticality, Accessibility, Recuperability, Vulnerability, Effect and Recognizability. Common ruses to be in the area include being dressed as clergy, as police, as utility workers, as door to door salespeople, and anything else that might blend in to the surroundings.

Detecting terrorist surveillance or planning is very possible. The best way to be prepared to detect terrorist surveillance is to practice continual awareness, replace casual observation, practice estimations, practice basic descriptive terms, and practice visualization.

Potential targets include symbolic and historical targets, public buildings or assembly areas, controversial areas and infrastructure systems.

Give a “good” lead vs. a “bad” lead: Not “I saw a suspicious guy near the water tower”, but rather “I saw a white male, about 6 foot tall wearing blue jeans, a brown jacket, a red hat and a black backpack climbing other the north side of the fence of the water tower on Washington Street. There was also a black Ford F-150 pick up truck parked on the grass near the fence with New Jersey license plate ABC123.”

Am I a target? Probably not as an individual. It is more likely that one becomes a target of terrorism based on where they are located at the moment a terrorist strikes.

What can I do? Constantly be aware of your surroundings. Actively pay attention to what is normal at any given location at a particular time of day. If you are not actively aware of what appears normally, you will be less likely to recognize what is abnormal. Actively practice basic descriptive terms and visualization with your friends and relatives as you go about your daily activities. The more you practice, the better you become at it.

Do not hesitate to report suspicious/abnormal activity to law enforcement. If something causes you to pause and take note, that is the time to report it, not the next day.

Above information condensed from the C.A.T. Eyes Program (Community Anti-Terrorism)