Homeland Security Wants Your Help Spotting Terrorists

KLAS 8 | August 6, 2008
By Travell Eiland

The Department of Homeland Security wants your help to prevent a terror attack in Las Vegas. But would you know what tell- tell signs to look for?

What would you think if you saw someone with a map and binoculars? Or if you saw that same person walking up and down the Strip? In a tourist environment, it all may seem normal. But these are just two of seven signs of possible terrorist activities.

These are things everyday people may spot and think -- it just doesn't seem right. That's why officials say your eyes can help derail a terrorists plan of attack.

The RJC is where you'll find Larry Threadgill -- pounding the pavement, passing out fliers. On these side walks of justice, you wouldn't believe the things he's seen. "From naked women, to guys trying to kill themselves."

From the street corner Threadgill has an up close view. "Being the observant person that I am, I watch them anyway."

Nevada's Department of Homeland Security says Threadgill's watchful eye makes him key to preventing terrorists attack in the valley. "The government thinks I could be apart of the first line of defense," said Threadgill. Shocking news to him -- because he wouldn't know what to look for.

UNLV'S Institute for Securities Study put together a DVD, "The Seven Signs of Terror" -- made for people who could help spot terrorist activity such as school police. The DVD lists what to look out for and gives a resource to call for help.

Ross Bryant works at the institute and says if this program would have been in place before 9/11, hospitality workers may have been able to spot the 9/11 hijackers. They came to town leading up to the attacks and stayed in a motel on the Strip.

"It is important that people who work in the industry, when they see something suspicious, they feel comfortable calling," he said. "Maybe that one incident doesn't bring actionable intelligence but that combined with other Intel can piece together the puzzle."

Although terror attacks aren't top of mind for most people, knowing what to look for is a wake up call for everyone.

The seven signs of terror are:

1. Surveillance -- watch out for people standing around surveying or taking video or pictures.

2. Information gathering -- be on the lookout for people requesting maps of blue prints of buildings.

3. Testing security -- terrorists may watch to see how long it takes emergency responders to get to a scene.

4. Planning

5. Suspicious behavior

6. Rehearsal -- terrorists may rehearse for the attack over and over so look out for that and

7. watch for people getting into positions that may not seem normal.

The DVD, "The Seven Signs of Terrorism" will be used throughout the state. Officials are making 20,000 copies in English and Spanish.

If you see or witness something suspicious, you can call 1-877-828-8386.