Hazardous Material and Bio-Agent Awareness

December 20, 2001

Los Angeles: The United States of America has been attacked by terrorists, who have used tactics of unspeakable brutality. Because acts of terrorism are likely to be unusual occurrences, education and pre-planning are the keys to preparedness. Every citizen should be aware of potential targets and any unusual activity that may be indicative of possible terrorism should be reported. It is important for all Americans to become aware of certain activities, which may be indicators of possible terrorist acts. Such activities may include:

Surveillance or "casing" of locations.

Suspicious procurement of items such as bomb making materials, chemicals, timers, and wiring.

Storing of weapons and/or chemicals.

Secretive meetings or contacts.

Unusual and unattended vehicles parked at or near locations.

Furthermore, these activities may take place in covert manners, which are difficult to combat. These covert tactics may include the use of chemical or biological weapons. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to create a personal emergency plan to effectively deal with any biohazard incident. These are potentially the most lethal forms of terrorism. One does not realize that they have been targeted until after the symptoms begin to appear, as seen in the recent anthrax attacks carried out by the use of tainted mail. The following are tips for identifying suspicious pieces of mail:

Oily stains, discoloration, or crystallization on outer package.
No return address, addressed to a title only or incorrect title.
Excessive postage, tape, string, lopsided, or bulky.
Restrictive markings, such as "Personal" or "Confidential".

Commander Sharon Papa, Department spokesperson, states, "Acts of terrorism go against the principle of every civilized nation and seek to impose fear and intimidation upon those they are directed. However, through a heightened sense of awareness and increased security measures, we can successfully overcome these dangers."
For additional information or obtain a copy of crime prevention circulars, contact the Community Liaison/Crime Prevention Unit, at 213-485-3134, or visit our Web site’s Crime Prevention Section.