Community Voices

Crime Watch: Heed the eight warning signs of terrorism and ‘say something’

Today, I want to share a campaign that is very important for our community, submitted by Lt. Margarita “Maggie” Varela of Miami-Dade Police Department Homeland Security Bureau. Hopefully, you’ll take heed.

What can you do for your safety and the safety of others? “See Something, Say Something.”

Just as citizens report crimes occurring within their neighborhoods or workplace, we are also asking for you to report suspicious activity and behaviors that may indicate possible pre-planning of terrorist attacks. Protecting our homeland is the responsibility of the federal government, our local police agencies and YOU. We are in this together. Law enforcement can’t do it without you.

As you go through your normal day, please maintain vigilance to any suspicious activity, no matter how insignificant it may seem, and call the police as soon as possible.

Our “See Something, Say Something” campaign focuses on encouraging citizens about the importance of reporting suspicious activities, as they go about their daily routines. These reports not only assist the police in preventing and solving criminal activity, but may provide smaller bits of information needed as part of a bigger investigation towards thwarting a terrorist attack in our hometown. We have learned through recent worldly events that the face of terrorism has no race, gender, age or nationality. Our citizens should look out for behaviors that may be suspicious in nature. Together we can win the war against terrorism.

Eight Signs of Terrorism

▪ Surveillance: Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras, note taking, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps, or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.

▪ Elicitation: People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, e-mail, telephone, or in person. This could also include eavesdropping or friendly conversation.

▪ Tests of Security: Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches, attempts to penetrate physical security barriers, or monitor procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.

▪ Funding: Suspicious transactions involving large cash payments, deposits or withdrawals are common signs of terrorist funding. Collections for donations, the solicitation for money and criminal activity are also warning signs.

▪ Supplies: Purchasing or stealing explosive material, weapons, ammunition, etc. This also includes acquiring military uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges (or the equipment to manufacture such items) and any other controlled items.

▪ Impersonation: People who don’t seem to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment, or anywhere else. This includes suspicious border crossings, the impersonation of law enforcement, military personnel or company employees is also a sign.

▪ Rehearsal: Putting people in position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act. An element of this activity could also include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow.

▪ Deployment: People and supplies getting into position to commit the act. This is the person’s last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.

To report suspicious activity please call 1-855-352-7233, or

Folks it’s not if they will attack, it’s when they will attack. We need to do our part in being prepared. So please take heed to these recommendations.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.