TAMPA (FOX 13) - In the wake of the San Bernardino massacre, there's a renewed effort to keep terror attacks from happening here in Florida. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is asking people to be on alert and report anything and everything that seems out of the ordinary.
FDLE is re-launching its "See Something, Say Something" campaign. Now, more than ever, they want people to report odd behavior to them. What you see may be nothing - or, it may be just the tip investigators need to stop a terror attack.
A neighbor in California reportedly noticed suspicious activity at the home of Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik. She didn't speak up, out of fear of racially profiling them. The couple later went on a shooting spree, killing 14 people and wounding dozens of others in San Bernardino.
"I'm always vigilant," Catherine Bunn of Tampa. "I'm always looking around my neighborhood when I'm driving."
No one wants to believe there's a potential terrorist next door. But, these days, you have to consider it.
"I have been doing that since September 11th," Bunn said. "I have reported suspicious activity already."
Though Florida's "See Something, Say Something" campaign has been around since 2011, FDLE wants the message fresh in people's minds. "As the holidays approach, we remind our citizens to remain vigilant," said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. "It's important that we are aware of our surroundings and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement."
Here's what to look for:
- Unusual items or situations: For example, a vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package or luggage is unattended, a window or door is open when it is usually closed.
- Someone eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building's purpose, operations, security procedures or personnel and shift changes, for example.
- Fixated observation or surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, or prolonged observation of a building; taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, using binoculars or a video camera to study a facility.
- For businesses - monitor materials acquisition and storage: acquisition or storage of unusual quantities of materials such as cell phones, or radio control toy controllers; fuel, chemicals, and timers are some examples.
"If they see things that are out of place or unusual, let us vet those," said FDLE Special Agent in Charge Tom Foy. "Let us determine if it's something important or not. We don't mind getting an excess number of tips."
"If someone is standing in front of a government building or taking unusual photography of surveillance cameras," Foy said, "it may turn out to be totally innocent. Again, let us decide."
You can report suspicious activity anonymous on FDLE's website at www.fdle.state.fl.us or by calling 1-855-FLA-SAFE (1-855-352-7233). In your report, be sure to include:
- A description of the activity;
- The date, time and location of the activity;
- Physical identifiers of the persons involved; and
- A description of any vehicles
A quick, anonymous report could end up saving a lot of lives.
"Someone might be in the neighborhood and they might seem nice," Bunn said. "I know a lot of times, people try to fit in and they're really quiet, but I'm very suspicious."