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Residents Told To Stay Vigilant During Holidays [AUDIO]

New Jersey officials are stepping up efforts to prevent a possible terror attack during the upcoming holiday season.

Rod Lamkey, Getty Images

Ed Dickson, the Director of the Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, says, “Vigilance” Workshops are being offered to several different groups – to help them recognize suspicious activity – and know what to do if they see it.

“There’s a range of suspicious activities that people need to keep an eye out for – unattended bags, vehicles, or people that seem to be out of place – people know what fits and what doesn’t,” he says. “But it’s also an opportunity for the attendees, to talk and exchange best practices about what they’re seeing, in the hopes of identifying trends – maybe something that worked for me here in this one industry will work for another venue in another industry.”

He says the focus of the workshops is on “international terrorism, such as Al Qaeda, or domestic terrorism that might be here in the United States…The point is if you see something, say something – make the call – make a difference – those types of things covers all areas…Once that’s reported we can start looking for trends, which will help us move around resources to try and prevent an attack… What you might see may not be a terrorist attack but it could be a robbery, a home invasion- it really could impact someone’s life in your neighborhood, at your workspace.”

Dickson adds the workshops are being offered to “shopping malls, schools, hospitals – those types of venues. Those are soft targets, meaning places where large numbers of people gather, where the security may not be as tight as it could be- because the venue needs to be open and accessible to the public….We have to really double down- if you will- on our security efforts.”

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