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Counter-Terrorism

The topics of terrorism and active shooters continue to be of concern and are important issues facing our communities and schools. We can mitigate tragedies by building awareness, reporting illegal activity, and educating ourselves on what do in an active attack event.

Did you know?

  • Recent mass attacks often occur suddenly by lone actors with varying motivations (Texas Department of Public Safety, January 2020).
  • In 2019 there were 417 mass shootings in the U.S. (Gun Violence Archive, July 2021).
  • Terrorist threats have evolved from large-group conspiracies to lone-offender attacks. (Federal Bureau Investigations).
  • Social media provides unprecedented access to Americans and allows international and domestic terrorist to engage in homeland attacks in a new way (Federal Bureau Investigations).
Counter-Terrorism Safety Awareness Tips
Consejos de Seguridad Contra el Terrorismo

Prevention

Unforeseen events can occur instantly. Understanding how to prevent victimization and defend yourself is crucial.

  • Identify exit points when entering any building.
  • Ensure emergency procedures are established at places you frequent like work, church & community centers.
  • Have an emergency plan response plan for your family that includes reunification plans after a tragic event.

If a mass attack occurs-take action. What you do matters! Consider the following practices suggested by the Department of Homeland Security. 

  • Evacuate: Have an escape route and plan in mind if there is an accessible path. Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be. Call 911 when you are safe, keep your hands visible, and follow instructions of any police officer.
  • Hide Out: Find a place out of an active shooter’s view if evacuation is not possible. Your hiding place should provide protection if shots are fired in your direction. To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place lock and barricade the door with heavy objects.
  • Take action: If your life is in imminent danger attempt to disrupt and/or immobilize the active shooter. Act as aggressively as possible towards them and improvise by throwing items and using other objects as weapons for self-defense.

Counter-Terrorism Terms

Terrorism: Is “the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence, often motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs, to instill fear and coerce governments or societies in pursuit of goals that are usually political” (Department of Defense).

Types of Terrorism:

  • International terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups who are inspired by, or associated with, designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (Federal Bureau Investigations).
  • Domestic terrorism: Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature (Federal Bureau Investigations).
  • Terroristic Threat: Any type of threat of violence against a person or institution with intent to: Cause a reaction by emergency services, place a person in fear of serious bodily injury, and prevent or interrupt the use of a building, facility, or meeting area (Section 22.07 of the Texas Penal Code).
  • Active Shooter: An individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a confined and populated area. In most cases, active shooters use firearms and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims (Department of Homeland Security).
  • Mass Attack: Acts of intentional violence in populated areas that resulted in three or more persons (not including the perpetrator) being killed or wounded (Texas Department of Public Safety).

School Threats
If a threat by a student causes anyone to be in fear of serious bodily injury, or the school or school district was required to change plans for the school day, issue a lockdown, cancel activities, evacuate a building, or refrain from using a certain portion of a building due to the threat, the student will most likely be criminally charged with making a terroristic threat (Education Code).

  • Most schools have zero tolerance policies for school threats therefor making a threat can hinder future opportunities.
  • Types of threats can include bomb threats, threatening to pull fire alarms, hoax threats, and online threats.
  • Legally a principal must notify law enforcement of all terroristic threats that occur before, during, and/or after a school day.
  • Consequences of making school threats can include mandatory placement in a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP), expulsion, placement in a juvenile detention center and/or probation.

Where to Report

  • For immediate help and emergencies call 911!
  • Crime Stoppers of Houston Tip Line: 713-222-TIPS (8477)
  • FBI Houston: 713-693-5000

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