Ahmad Khan Rahami, 28, has been charged in federal court in New York in connection with the bombings in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and in New Jersey earlier this month. The criminal complaint filed in court said Rahami was motivated by an extremist Islamic ideology.
Thirty-one people were injured by the blast on the evening of September 17 in Chelsea; an earlier explosion near a charity race in New Jersey appeared to have injured no one. On Sunday, pipe bombs were discovered in New Jersey, but no injuries were reported, the New York Times reports.
Officials used the emergency text alert system to inform New York City area residents about the suspect on Monday morning, and a New Jersey bar owner reported a person asleep in the bar’s doorway, leading police to Rahami.
Security reached out to Dean Alexander, Director of the Homeland Security Research Program and Associate Professor of Homeland Security at Western Illinois University, for suggestions on how business owners and security leaders can cooperate with law enforcement and gain additional insight before, during and after a potential terrorist incident like the one in Chelsea.
“A holistic approach to combating this menace must encompass sustained military efforts, intelligence, law enforcement efforts here and abroad, and significant contributions by businesses, non-profits, non-governmental organizations and the public,” Alexander says. “More specifically, law enforcement can continue to use informants and undercover agents to ferret out prospective IS-supports. Additionally, they must leverage the nationwide suspicious activities report framework to share insight about pre-incident terrorist indicators, among other trigger signs. Police should also more readily integrate other traditional activities, such as traffic stops and calls for service, to assess whether an individual may have a nexus with terrorism.
“Moreover, by improving relations with communities susceptible to violent extremism, the frequency and severity of such radicalism will likely decline. Non-governmental organizations and non-profits can accelerate their efforts at combating violent extremism within population sets by providing educational, recreational and civic programs that will provide vulnerable youth and others with alternative paths.
“The business community can expand its aid to police by offering tailored product and service solutions, harden their own assets against physical and cyber threats, as well as share information, such as tips about suspicious personnel or employees, and provide assistance in case of terrorist attack,” he adds.
Alexander also recommends that businesses work closely with government officials; file suspicious transaction reports and currency transaction reports to aid in uncovering money laundering and terror financing; provide tips and tip reporting structures; and work to deter crime and terrorism threats by allocating disparate assets for physical and cyber security.
He adds that businesses should be familiar with the Communities Against Terrorism fliers distributed by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Administration and FBI. These provide information on potential indicators of terrorist activities relating to 24 types of businesses and locations, and can be vital training tools for security personnel and “See Something, Say Something”-type programs.
What are your suggestions and good practices for emergency response and cooperation? Let us know in the comments section below.