Local leaders across the Garden State are being contacted by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness. They’re being told to watch out for a possible terror attack by someone in the community.

Benjamin Howell, (ThinkStock)

“Our current threat environment throughout the state of New Jersey as well as nationally is becoming much more diffuse and decentralized, and within our current landscape we are seeing more occurrences happening at the local level,” said Rosemary Martorana, director of Intelligence for the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

She said for that reason it’s important for all law enforcement agencies “to now communicate more frequently with our municipalities and those individuals on the ground within those municipalities.”

Martorana said this has to do with the greatest threat we now face, “which is that from a home-grown violent extremist, those individuals that are currently in the United States and may act out locally.”

For that reason she added, mayors are being contacted, so they can share the information with their constituents.

She said after 9/11 a major concern was that we could see another coordinated attack effort by an overseas entity.

“But now those overseas entities are able to reach a wider audience, they’re able to connect with individuals right here in the United States, via social media platforms and other means,” she said.

In other words, groups like ISIS “are no longer conducting coordinated attacks as we saw during 9/11, but really directly contacting and inspiring these individuals to act locally. They really could be anyone within our community, I don’t think these people fit one specific description in any way. There’s no necessarily one way people radicalize, they can radicalize through all different venues and platforms and means and so it’s important that they engage with local law enforcement. We always encourage people to report any suspicious activity – especially changing behaviors that are observed.”

You can report any suspicious activity at www.njhomelandsecurity.gov.

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