From an e-mail:
Over the past few weeks, several media outlets have raised the public’s attention to an increasing, although undefined, terrorist threat. International terrorist organizations have continued to demonstrate their interest in conducting attacks in the U.S. Of concern for law enforcement is the possibility that a lone individual who associates with or is inspired by extremist groups might try to stage an attack. The threat picture we’re seeing shows an adversary that is evolving and adapting quickly, and determined to strike us at home. We constantly remain on the alert and strive to keep the public informed.
More recently, in September, Inspire, an English language online magazine, reported to be published by the organization Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, released propaganda encouraging its readers to randomly target large public areas in cities, like Washington, DC. The magazine is aimed at British and American readers and provides instructions and translates messages from Osama bin Laden. The fall issue of Inspire emphasizes the lone wolf attack methods. While there have been no confirmed threats, the Metropolitan Police Department is encouraging its residents and visitors to pay close attention to their surroundings and to alert authorities immediately if they see any suspicious activity.
Fortunately, we are empowered to protect ourselves through a number of means. First, as members of the community, we are able to see things that are out of line from the norm, and then say something about it by calling 911 to report these suspicious actions and events. In many instances, it is very subtle observations that can make the difference between interceding and stopping a dangerous act, or not.
To that end, as you go about your daily routine, I ask that you remain ever vigilant in your awareness of the following: (1) others who are behaving in an unusual way; (2) strange smells that seem out of sorts [particularly chemical odors]; (3) the delivery of odd looking packages, machines, and devices to you or others around your home or business; and (4) other out-of-the-ordinary actions you happen to see. Again, whenever you experience these types of suspicious circumstances, please call 911 to report it.
As an active participant in our city’s efforts to maintain safe and healthy communities, these measures will go along way to promote the principles of the “See Something – Say Something” initiative.
Thank you for your efforts,
Cathy L. Lanier
Chief of Police