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Law enforcement urging vigilance for terrorism

Posted at 11:43 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 00:18:10-05

ST. LUCIE COUNTY, Fla. -- Law enforcement officers across the state are urging residents to be on guard during the holidays while shopping, or attending events in large venues or crowds.

Terrorism is still at top of mind for agencies across the country as well as the risk for threats through the holiday season.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is reenacting its “See Something Say Something” campaign to encourage people to be watchful and report and suspicious behavior they see.

“The terrorists, we know, are looking for soft targets. Those are targets they feel they can invade in and carry out their mission. We feel during the Christmas or holiday season, that’s a time where they might be able to accomplish what they set out to do,” said St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

The “See Something Say Something” campaign started shortly after the terror attacks on 9-11, but Mascara says after a while, the effort fizzled out. Given recent terror attacks abroad and at home, the FDLE decided in December to relaunch efforts for the campaign.

“We want people if they see something out of the ordinary, don’t be embarrassed. Give us a call. Let us investigate,” Macara said.

Shopper Shirley Parker just started her Christmas Shopping Tuesday. “I’ve still got a little ways to go,” she said.

She’s among the shoppers law enforcement officers want to be on guard. “It’s crazy what’s going on out here in the world now. It’s bad,” Parker said.

Aside from the pick-pockets and thieves most shoppers are typically used to looking out for, it’s potential terrorism that police want shoppers to also keep an eye out for.

Things that should be considered suspicious could be people drawing, photographing or measuring buildings for no known reason, strangers asking questions about building security procedures, people going into secure areas where they’re not authorized to be and people leaving behind backpacks or suitcases.

If you see anything suspicious you can call 911 or by calling 1-855-FLA-SAFE (1-855-352-7233). It can also be reported online through FDLE’s website at www.fdle.state.fl.us.