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Police Tips to Protect Against Terrorism

By Lookout Staff

August 18 -- Recently obtained photographs of individuals videotaping the pier in a suspicious manner remind us that terrorism can strike anytime, anywhere -- even in Santa Monica.

To combat the possible threat, Police Chief James T. Butts, Jr. has asked the City for $2 million for surveillance equipment, bomb-sniffing dogs and other measures to enhance security.

In the meantime, the police department is informing citizens on what precautions they should take and what they can do to protect themselves from terrorism. Here is some of the information that can be found on www.santamonicapd.org

Bomb Threat

If you receive a phone call from someone making a bomb threat, you should remain calm and ask them:

  • "When is the bomb going to explode?"
  • "Where is the bomb?"
  • "What does it look like?"
  • 'What kind of bomb is it?"
  • "Who placed the bomb?"
  • "Why was the bomb placed?"
  • "Where is the caller calling from?"
  • "What is the caller's address?"
  • "What is the caller's name?"

Also pay attention. Are there any noises in the background? Does the caller speak with an accent and, if so, what kind? Does the caller speak calmly or anxiously? Is the caller loud or soft; squeaky or nasal or speaks with a stutter? Little details like these can help track down persons who make bomb threats. Call 911 immediately.

Suspicious Packages

Suspicious packages could contain a bomb or a biological agent. Do not open them. Here are some of the tell-tale signs of suspicious packages, according to the police website:

  • No return address
  • Protruding wires or aluminum foil
  • Oily stains, discolorations or odor
  • Misspellings of common words
  • Excessive security material such as masking tape, string, etc
  • Lopsided or uneven envelope
  • Excessive weight
  • Excessive postage
  • Visual distractions

Be Vigilant

Report all suspicious activity Santa Monica Police at (310) 458-8491. Remember, it's behavior -- not looks -- that makes a person a suspect of criminal or terrorist activity. In addition, here are some precautions you should take:

  • Don't accept items from strangers
  • Always know where the staircases and emergency exits are
  • Avoid large gatherings in public places during stressful times
  • These are likely targets of a terrorist attack
  • Review websites on terrorism such as the Federal Department of Homeland Security at www.ready.gov and the Federal Emergency Management Agency at www.fema.gov

Be Prepared

You and your family should have an emergency kit to see you through the first 72 hours of any disaster that could strike. The police department recommends that your kit include:

  • 3 gallons of water per person
  • Ready-to-eat food
  • A non-electric can opener
  • A battery or solar operated radio
  • An ABC type fire extinguisher
  • Toiletries
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • A First Aid Kit
  • A tent
  • A portable stove
  • Special medication your family is taking

In addition, the police suggest that you may want to have on hand some "items that can help with stress management." These might include cuddly toys for small children, board games for older kids and "musical instruments for anyone including adults."

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