Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Shopping Malls and Entertainment Facilities
The activities outlined here may give you ideas as an actor for suspicious behavior, dialog, and action in training exercises.
These activities have been compiled from a review of terrorist events over several years.
They are by no means all-inclusive for Crisis Actors scenarios.
Persons at shopping malls and entertainment facilities should consider suspicious the following:
- Significantly alters appearance from visit to visit (shaving beard, changing hair color, style of dress, etc)
- Missing hand/fingers, chemical burns, strange odors or bright colored stains on clothing
- Wearing backpacks or heavy coats when the weather is warm
Individuals' Activities Consisting of:
- Loitering, parking, or standing in the same area over multiple days with no reasonable explanation
- Overly interested in the following:
- entry points
- peak days and hours of operation
- security personnel
- surveillance assets (including cameras)
- access controls such as alarms, barriers, doors, gates, or locks
- Observation of security reaction drills or procedures (may cause an incident to observe response)
- Discreet use of cameras, note-taking, or video recorders over an extended period
- Several men arriving together then splitting up, continuing to communicate by phone (dry run?)
- Unusual interest in speaking with building maintenance personnel or security guards
- Observations/questions about air conditioning, heating, and ventilation systems
- Suspicious comments made regarding radical theology, vague or cryptic warnings, or anti-U.S. sentiments that appear to be out-of-place and provocative
A vigilant shopping mall or entertainment facility worker will:
- Require valid ID from all new customers.
- Keep records of purchases.
- Talk to customers, ask questions, and listen to and observe their responses.
- Watch for people and actions that are out of place.
- Make note of suspicious statements, people, and/or vehicles.
- If something seems wrong, notify law enforcement authorities.
- Not jeopardize their safety or the safety of others.
- Report to the Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC - jric.org - 888-705-JRIC).
- Mention "Tripwire" in the call.
The worker must remember that just because someone’s speech, actions, beliefs, appearance, or way of life is different it does not mean that he or she is suspicious.
Some of the activities, taken individually, could be innocent and must be examined by law enforcement professionals in a larger context to determine whether there is a basis to investigate.
The collection of this information was supported by Grant Number 2007-MU-BX-K002, awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
Each indictor listed above, is by itself, lawful conduct or behavior and may also constitute the exercise of rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In addition, there may be a wholly innocent explanation for conduct or behavior that appears suspicious in nature. For this reason, no single indicator should be the sole basis for law enforcement action. The totality of behavioral indicators and other relevant circumstances should be evaluated when considering any law enforcement response or action.