Terrorist attacks are, of course, horrifying.
We can all play a role in protecting our community.
One key way is to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings – from your neighborhood to a mall, and from public transportation to a public venue such as a stadium. Remember, “If you see something, say (or send) something.”
As this video from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security states:
Virginia has what is called a “fusion center” that brings together federal, state and local officials to share resources, expertise, and/or information to better identify, detect, prevent and respond to terrorist and criminal activity. The fusion center’s website has a long list of potential suspicious activities to consider reporting such as:
- Demonstrating unusual interest in facilities, buildings or infrastructures beyond mere casual or professional (e.g., engineers) interest.
- Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, etc.
- Suspicious transactions involving large cash payments, deposits, or withdrawals.
- Acquisition and/or storage of unusual quantities of materials, such as cell phones, pagers, fuel, chemicals, toxic materials and timers.
If there’s an ongoing emergency, call or text 9-1-1.
If you see something suspicious, here’s how to report it:
- Download an app for your phone to easily report something suspicious [iPhone // Android].
- Call 703-802-2746.
- Submit information through an online form.
- You may also call the Fairfax County non-emergency line at 703-691-2131, TTY 703-877-3715.
When reporting suspicious activity, it is helpful to give the most accurate description possible, including:
- Brief description of the activity.
- Date, time and location of the activity.
- Physical identifiers of anyone you observed.
- Descriptions of vehicles.
- Information about where people involved in suspicious activities may have gone.
- Move or leave if you feel uncomfortable or if something does not seem right.
- Do not accept packages from strangers and do not leave luggage unattended.
- Learn where emergency exits are located in buildings you frequent. Plan how to get out in the event of an emergency.
- It’s always good to be prepared with an emergency supply kit and communication plans.
- Most importantly, stay calm, be patient and think before you act. With these simple preparations, you can be ready for the unexpected.