Holiday awareness; be mindful of surroundings during time of gathering

17 Dec 2015 | Cpl. Mark Watola Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

November kicked off the holiday season – Thanksgiving turkey, Black Friday shopping, photos with Santa and gathering at tree lighting ceremonies.

While celebrating the reason for the season people tend to let their guard down, when they should be on alert.

Festivals and celebrations are common targets for those trying to take advantage of others, because the holidays tend to bring large groups of people together.

"When a group or entity wants to carry out an attack, targets are more amplified (during the holidays)," said Shane Ankney, anti-terrorism program manager with mission assurance. "Targets are more lucrative if a target is carried out during the holidays."

People can take precautions during the holiday season to include pre-designating meeting areas and contingency plans for special events and trips. Keep a watchful eye, establish a baseline and take note of suspicious activity or anything out of the ordinary.

"If something doesn’t look right, tell somebody about it," said Ankney. "If it looks out of place, if it doesn’t look normal, if it wasn’t like that yesterday or if something just makes you feel like something is wrong, report it and know who to report it to."

Witnesses are advised to report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities or reporting agency.

"There are a number of programs available to report suspicious activity," said Ankney. "There are Eagle Eyes and America’s Waterway Watch for waterside activities. Those who witness suspicious activity can call or submit a report online anonymously."

If you witness suspicious activity you can report it to or call 451-3333.