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Home | Tag Archives: dps

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DPS Urges Texans to Stay Vigilant, Report Suspicious Activity

AUSTIN – In light of the attack in Las Vegas over the weekend and as part of national Crime Prevention Month (October), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is calling on all Texans to remain vigilant regarding potential crime and terrorist activity in their communities, and to report suspicious behaviors to local authorities or the department’s iWATCH website.

“In the wake of the cowardly attack in Las Vegas, we continue to keep everyone impacted by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We also want to remind the public of the potentially crucial role they play in helping law enforcement combat groups and lone-wolf actors intent on harming others. No matter where you are – alone or in a large group – always stay alert, and report any illegal or suspicious activity you witness to iWATCH or to your local authorities.”

The iWATCH program was created as a partnership between communities and law enforcement, and utilizes citizen-sourced tips related to criminal activity. Concerned citizens who observe suspicious activity can visit the iWATCH website to fill out a report.

A report usually takes fewer than five minutes to complete, and once submitted, each report is reviewed by law enforcement analysts. To make an anonymous report, individuals can contact DPS at 1-844-643-2251.

iWATCH is not designed to report emergencies. If a situation requires an emergency response, call 911.

Preparations for terrorist attacks may often be seen but rarely reported. When in doubt, speak up.

Here are some examples of behaviors and activities to report:

  • Strangers asking questions about building security features and procedures.
  • Briefcase, suitcase, backpack or package is left behind.
  • Cars or trucks are left in no-parking zones at important buildings.
  • Chemical smells or fumes that are unusual for the location.
  • People requesting sensitive information, such as blueprints, security plans or VIP travel schedules, without a need to know.
  • Purchasing supplies that could be used to make bombs or weapons, or purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials.
  • Taking photographs or videos of security features, such as cameras or checkpoints.

Reports to iWATCH can also be made through the DPS Mobile App. The app is currently available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store and for Android users on Google Play.

Texas DPS Releases Annual Threat Overview Report

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has released the 2017 Texas Public Safety Threat Overview, a state intelligence estimate that offers an assessment of the current public safety threats to Texas.

“Protecting Texans from the full scope of public safety and homeland security threats is the foremost goal of DPS, and the department works with our fellow law enforcement partners at all levels of government to prepare for the unthinkable,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “This report provides an invaluable assessment of the most significant threats facing our state and is a crucial tool in combating those threats.”

The report draws on the data and perspectives of multiple law enforcement and homeland security agencies, whose contributions were essential to developing this assessment. It also includes a description of the state’s systematic approach to detect, assess and prioritize public safety threats within seven categories, including terrorism, crime, natural disasters, motor vehicle crashes, public health, industrial accidents and cyber threats.

The report ascertains that, due to recent terrorist attacks perpetrated by domestic lone offenders and large foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), the current terrorism threat to Texas is elevated.

The assessment also recognizes that the heightened threat is expected to persist during the next year, due in part to the relatively high number of recent terrorism-related arrests and thwarted plots, and the prevalence of ISIS’s online recruitment and incitement messaging.

 

Additional significant findings include:

  • Threats from violent domestic antigovernment extremists remain concerning in light of standoffs with federal law enforcement in Oregon in 2014 and Nevada in early 2016, as well as a series of ambush murders of police officers.
  • Crime threatens the public safety and liberty of all Texans in some way. DPS Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program data for 2015 shows a 4.7 percent decrease of the major crime rate in Texas from 2014. This is positive for the safety and welfare of our citizens. Conversely, violent crimes in particular increased for the second year in a row. Texas’ UCR program includes seven index crimes: homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. What the index crime data does not currently account for are other crimes typically committed by criminal organizations that impact the security of Texas communities, such as human trafficking, drug trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, money laundering, and public corruption.
  • Criminal organizations – including Mexican cartels and transnational gangs – and individual criminals engage in a wide range of illicit activities in Texas. Among the vilest crimes these organizations and other criminals engage in is the exploitation and trafficking of children and other vulnerable victims. Human trafficking is highly profitable, and is the fastest growing organized crime business in Texas.
  • All eight of the major Mexican cartels operate in Texas, and they have enlisted transnational and statewide gangs to support their drug and human smuggling and human trafficking operations on both sides of the border.
  • Gangs continue to pose a significant public safety threat to Texas, and their propensity for violence and many kinds of criminal activity is persistent. While the greatest concentrations of gang activity tend to be in the larger metropolitan areas, gang members are also present in the surrounding suburbs and in rural areas. Gang activity is especially prevalent in some of the counties adjacent to Mexico and along key smuggling corridors, since many Texas-based gangs are involved in cross-border trafficking.
  • Motor vehicle crashes killed 3,520 people in Texas in 2015. In addition, the high volume of commercial motor vehicles on Texas’ roadways is a particular concern because of the increased potential for loss of life when large-mass commercial vehicles are involved in crashes.
  • Texas faces an array of natural threats, including floods, hurricanes, wildfires, tornados, and drought, with more major disaster declarations than any other state in the nation. These disasters result in loss of life, damage to infrastructure, and billions of dollars in personal property damage and economic losses.
  • Public health threats to Texas remain a significant concern, with emerging infectious diseases and other illnesses such as influenza and enteroviruses.
  • Major industrial accidents constitute another potential threat to public safety, especially because of the large industrial base in Texas. The state’s vast size and economic importance contribute to the potential for severe consequences if any significant accidents occur.
  • Since technology has become a target, a vulnerability and a tool used by criminals and foreign governments, cyber threats continue to be a significant area of concern, and we are especially concerned about the potential consequences of a successful cyberattack on the state’s critical infrastructure.

“As terrorism has become more disaggregated, communities in Texas and across the nation are facing a heightened threat of terrorism, and the continued potential for attacks against civilians and members of law enforcement is a serious ongoing concern,” said Director McCraw. “The report identifies several other unique threats to our state – including organized crime and Mexican cartels, natural disasters and cyber attacks – for which we must be prepared. With the 2017 Texas Public Safety Threat Overview in mind, DPS will continue working with our law enforcement partners to prevent, respond to and recover from all potential threats facing our state.”

To view the complete click 2017 Texas Public Safety Threat Overview

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