Anti-terror officials ask NJ residents to stay vigilant during holidays
Tis the season for peace on earth and goodwill to all. But it’s also the time of year when New Jersey authorities are ramping up security efforts to prevent a possible terror attack.
“We’re not aware of any credible or specific threats at this time to any events or gatherings in New Jersey but we have to remain constantly vigilant,” said Jared Maples, the director of the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
He said over the next few weeks there will be large crowds across the region, “so we really are focused on all of them as a potential area that someone could look to attack.”
“Homegrown violent extremists, the lone wolf attackers, are still considered one of our top threats, if not our top threat," he said. "They’re inspired, not necessarily directed, but inspired by foreign terrorist organizations like an ISIS or Al Qaeda.”
Maples said his office is working with law enforcement partners on the local, state and federal level to coordinate information and intelligence to make sure Garden State residents can enjoy a safe holiday season.
He stressed New Jerseyans should not be overly worried or nervous during the holidays but “we also want to make sure they do maintain vigilance. Be aware of suspicious activities, stay alert to your surroundings.”
He noted there are certain types of things you should look for and report if you see them: Unattended luggage or packages; wiring and battery packs sticking out of luggage; and strong odors coming from luggage.
Maples said you would also want to call authorities if you notice anything suspicious. Those calls can go to 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or 911.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com