Authorities, experts address terrorist threat locally

Authorities, experts address terrorist threat locally

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Following the horrific events and tragic loss of life that took place in Paris last week, Tucson and metropolitan areas across the United States are on a heightened state of alert.

No formal emergency instructions or protocol, just an increased sense of purpose among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, asking citizens to be even more vigilant and aware.

An example of that is the recently-launched "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign spearhead by the Department of Homeland Security.

Law enforcement officials everywhere agree saying public safety is everyone's responsibility. If you see suspicious activity, report it immediately.

"That's probably a good rule of thumb; I think it's fine," said Brint Milward, University of Arizona professor, author, lecturer and expert on terrorism. "But I don't think it applies anymore to Tucson than it does any other place in the United States, probably less so because the probability of a terrorist attack in New York City or Washington DC is far higher than it is in Tucson, Arizona."

Milward said citizens should remain vigilant and aware of their surroundings, neighborhoods and workplaces. But as for any future activity taking place in southern Arizona, Milward said terrorists are all about the big stage.

"Why target a deputy sheriff in Tucson, Arizona," he said rhetorically, "when you can target the president of the United States?"

"Any time you have a chance to do something that you know will be covered 24/7 on TV around the world - that's what they're looking for," Milward said. "If it's the Time Square bombing, if it's an airliner that is run into the World Trade Center or a spectacular multi-part attack in downtown Paris, that's gonna have much more impact than something in Tucson."

Local, state and federal authorities don't want citizens to relax, however - with a series of tips and reminders highlighted in the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign.

"It's easy to take for granted the routine moments we experience every day - going to work or school, the grocery store or the gas station. But your every day is different than your neighbor's," Homeland Security officials said.

"So if you see something you know shouldn't be there - or someone's behavior that doesn't seem quite right - say something ... because only you know what's supposed to be in your every day."

That includes being a good witness by specifically taking note of the following:

  • Who or what you saw
  • When you saw it
  • Where it occurred
  • Why it’s suspicious

For more information about the national security campaign, we've included the following link: http://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something

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