The state of New York has launched an initiative called Operation Safeguard, the goal of which is to curtail terrorist activity by educating owners of self-storage and other businesses about potential signs of threat. According to a recent article by The Klaxon, law-enforcement officials hope businesses in rural communities―particularly self-storage facilities―will be able to provide information on suspicious behavior.
According to the article, self-storage facilities have been used as staging locations for terrorist activities in the past, for example, the Oklahoma City bombing executed by Timothy McVeigh. Storage facilities are a logical choice as they often provide relative privacy and 24-hour access.
Items business owners should watch for as potentials signs of terrorist activity include fertilizer, specifically ammonium nitrate (ANFO), and hydrogen peroxide. The Klaxon article also provided ideas law enforcement can use to help build a better cooperative network with self-storage operators:
- Make a list and map each storage facility within a particular jurisdiction.
- Make regular police patrols of each facility and, if the facility has a manager, require officers to check in with him.
- Ask storage operators to ensure proper photo ID is presented and photocopied at the time of each rental.
- Ask storage operators to request a credit card for each rental, even when a customer insists on paying in cash.
- Ask facility operators to report any behavior that may be deemed suspicious, i.e., numerous late-night visits, the storage of chemicals, strange odors, etc.
According to the article, if officials can remove self-storage from the options for terrorist operations, they can help prevent future attacks.
Source: The Klaxon, Preventing terrorism one self-storage facility at a time