” Be vigilant.” “If you see something , say something.” We hear this from all the experts , police and homeland security experts, on all the media outlets. But what are we really telling people to do? Are we giving them the right information to do what we ask. We need to expound on these cliches. We need to tell the public and everyone for that matter, to look for things that are out of the norm for your work place, your neighborhood and places you frequent. Chances are those “anomalies” are nothing. Nonetheless, in this day and age, we can’t afford to dismiss anything. The public needs to take notice of anomalous/ suspicious activity. Note vehicle types, plate numbers, clothing, the actual behavior that caught you eye , number of people involved, what they were doing, how they interacted and anything else you noticed that was out of the norm. Adding this to our “see something , say something, be vigilant” announcements can yield valuable information to law enforcement personnel and hopefully interrupt any terrorist or criminal planning or operation. It will give a little more meaning to the cliches that are currently missing….
Well folks, yet another research project that reinforces the value of talking to people as part of effective security. According to new research published by the American Psychological Association (APA), conversation based screening caught mock airline passengers with deceptive cover stories more than 20 times as often as agents who used the traditional method of examining body language for suspicious signs. I have long said that the formula for an effective behavior detection program, is behavior observation AND engagement; the engagement piece being the focal point. Having said that, asking the right questions and the unanticipated questions is where the value and skill set really plays a role. Engaging complete strangers is not a skill or ability that everyone possesses. Therefore, selecting and training the right people for this process is paramount. As we see the threats of terrorism increasing around the world, I believe teaching security officials this skill will enhance our ability to better detect possible threats.