Communities Against Terrorism

This site is intended to provide information on the signs or indicators that may predict a possible terrorist attack. Each one of us has a responsibility to help protect our community, state and country. It is important that all North Miami Beach residents have a basic ability to recognize the signs of terrorism and to report suspicious activities to your state, county or local police department. Terrorism events are planned, organized, and carried out by individuals acting alone or in groups. It is important for all of us to realize that when a terrorist incident occurs, it affects everyone. As part of your daily routine, being observant and reporting anything out of the ordinary could be the crucial first step in preventing a possible terrorist plot or threat.

The seven signs of terrorism are as follows:

  1. Surveillance.
  2. Elicitation.
  3. Tests of security.
  4. Acquiring supplies.
  5. Suspicious people who don’t belong.
  6. Dry or trial runs.
  7. Deploying assets or getting into position.


The first sign is surveillance. What should you be looking for and what should be reported? During the planning phase, the terrorist will often conduct surveillance on a possible target. They do this in order to determine the strengths and weaknesses of their target and response times of emergency responders. Routes to and from the target are usually established during the surveillance phase. Examples of surveillance activities include someone recording or monitoring activities, drawing diagrams, making notes on maps, using vision-enhancing devices such as binoculars, or possessing floor plans or blueprints of places such as high-tech firms, financial institutions, government or military facilities. Any of these surveillance-type acts may be a sign that something isn’t right. If you feel that you have observed something suspicious, do not dismiss it, but report the incident to the police.


The second sign is elicitation. This is when someone attempts to gain information about an important place, operation, or workers. An important place might be a power or water plant, a bridge, school, stadium or shopping mall. Terrorists may ask what the building is used for, building operations, deliveries, and security-related information. That alone, or together with other facts, might reveal security strengths or weaknesses. Attempts to obtain information may be made by fax, U.S mail, email, phone or in person.

Testing Security

Testing security is another way for terrorists to gather information. This may be done by walking or driving into restricted areas to observe security or law enforcement response. They may also try to enter physical security barriers or access procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.

Acquiring Supplies

Terrorists need to acquire supplies and equipment to carry out their attacks. This may include purchasing or stealing law enforcement or military equipment, identification badges, uniforms, and decals. Terrorists may also obtain explosives, weapons, ammunition, harmful chemicals, or chemical equipment. Airline boarding passes or operation and flight manuals could also be obtained and used in planning an attack. Forging or photocopying personal identification, passports or other documents is another method used to obtain supplies.

Suspicious Persons Who Don’T Belong

Another sign is suspicious persons that don’t belong. This is someone in a workplace, building, neighborhood, or business who is suspicious because of their behavior, the unusual questions they ask, or the statements they make. Keep in mind that police officers often respond to complaints that may seem to be routine in nature but could result in something much more significant. As we have said before, if you feel that you have seen something suspicious, do not dismiss it. Report it to the police.

Dry or Trial Runs

Before carrying out the final operation or plan, terrorists typically conduct a dry run or trial run. A trial run consists of putting people into position and moving them around according to the plan without actually committing the terrorist act. It could also include mapping out routes to determine traffic flow.

Deploying Assets or Getting Into Position

The seventh sign is deploying assets or getting into position to commit the terrorist act. Deploying assets is placing people, equipment, and supplies at or near the target. If you see suspicious activity, this may be the last opportunity you have to report it to the police.

In conclusion, it is important to remember that the seven signs of terrorism that have been discussed here may occur months or even years apart. If you or a family member sees any suspicious or criminal activity, you should never attempt to stop a suspect. Call the police immediately and report the incident or activity. Law enforcement personnel have procedures in place to share information with local, state and federal homeland security officials. The success of our securing our homeland depends on our vigilance, commitment and ability to recognize these signs.”

Also, listen to what people are talking about or bragging about!

Contact Us

If this type of suspicious activity is witnessed, the police should be contacted immediately at 305-949-5500.

Make sure to get the best description of the activity, including its location, any person(s) involved, vehicles and the direction of travel if the persons or vehicles leave before the police get there.

For more information on how to protect yourself, family or property from terrorist activity, please contact out Crime Prevention Unit at 305-948-2955.