Category Archive: Suspicious Packages

Focus on resources: DHS Protective Security Advisors

Posted on August 03, 2015

PSA imageRecently, we received an inquiry from an out-of-state colleague. Some of his questions could be answered over the phone, but it was clear that an on-site consultation was in order.

I asked my colleague, “Do you know your Protective Security Advisor (PSA)?” He replied, “What?”

DHS employs PSA’s in all 50 states and many states have multiple regions. Our experience here in NY is that our PSA’s are a wonderful resource. They are hard-working, knowledgeable and professional.

  • Security surveys. Subject to time constraints you can ask your PSA to conduct security surveys and assessments of your facilities. We’ve joined our PSA’s during some of these sessions and their suggestions are both sound and pragmatic.
  • Training. PSA’s have access to a wide variety of training options, e.g. active shooters, suspicious packages, severe weather. Even if you don’t know your exact need, talk to them. They can open up a variety of resources for you.
  • Special events planning. Let them know if you are planning a high profile event. They can advise you on security and logistical issues.
  • Outreach. Get on their radar. They will invite you to various trainings and events.

Click here for more information on Protective Security Advisors. To contact your local PSA, please contact PSCDOperations@hq.dhs.gov. To contact NY PSA’s or if you have questions or need other assistance please complete the form below.

Gaza fighting continues, should you up your security game?

Posted on August 01, 2014

The ongoing military conflict between Israel and Hamas has lead to disturbing attacks on Jewish institutions abroad. While there are no specific threats to U.S. Jewish institutions or individuals, JCRC-NY recommends that Jewish institutions increase their levels of vigilance out of an abundance of caution.

  • Create a culture of security. Institutions shouldn’t merely subcontract security. Even buildings with well-trained security personnel shouldexpect that staff and constituencies should be part of the security equation. Everyone should have heightened vigilance in times like these. For tips on security awareness, click here and the ADL’s Guide to Detecting Surveillance of Jewish Institutions and 18 Best Practices for Jewish Institutional Security.
  • Be in contact with your local police.  Someone (or more than one) should have ongoing personal relationships with key police personnel. They should know you, your building and your organizational activities.
    • Discuss your security procedures with them and ask them for suggestions for improvement.
    • Inform them of the dates and times your regular events and of special events.
  • Revisit and review your security plans and procedures. 
    • Access control. Did you hear the one about a pro-Israel organization visited by a middle-aged, well-dressed woman saying that she wanted to make a contribution? They opened the door for her and a dozen protesters rushed in. Nine of the invaders were arrested. Are you vulnerable to such antics? Take the time to review your access control procedures. For more information and guidance see JCRC-NY’s Sample Building Access Policies & Procedures (PDF).
    • Bomb threats. Review your bomb threat procedures and make sure that your staff (especially those who answer the phones) know what is expected of them. For a range of resources from top agencies, including the FBI and the DHS guidance click here.
    • Suspicious packages. Is your staff aware that they should be on the lookout for suspicious packages? For USPS guidance click here.
    • Active shooters. See both quick pocket-card and in-depth resources from DHS, FBI and other agencies here.
  • Assess your cybersecurity. Over the past month the websites of several Jewish-affiliated organizations were hacked. Protect your organization. See Cybersecurity for Jewish organizations 101: an update and how to have inexpensive and effective backup and other plans at Resources to prepare your organization’s technology for a disaster.

Click here to contact JCRC-NY for further guidance and advice.

Updated: Bomb Threat Guidance 2013

Posted on June 25, 2013

OBP_DHS DOJ Bomb Threat Guidance Image

Did you hear the one about a forgetful British bridegroom who made a hoax bomb threat rather than admit he’d neglected to book the venue for his wedding? He was sentenced to a year in jail.

What should you do if your organization receives a threat? The FBI and DHS released a new “pocket” bomb threat guidance document available here. It provides a two-page overview to help  you deal with bomb threats: planning and preparation, your “emergency toolkit”, what you should do if you receive a threat, how to assess the threat and the possible responses.

Now is a good time to review, or to think through your own plans. Our own Emergency Planning: Disaster and Crisis Response Systems for Jewish Organizations has a longer chapter discussing the issue. Learn how to handle a phone threat with this checklist.

Finally, read an New York Times account of an October 15, 2012 bomb threat (with an actual pipe bomb) to the Home Depot store in Huntington, NY. The store’s bomb threat plan was put to good use.

Pres. Obama, Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD and Jewish community response to Boston Marathon explosions

Posted on April 15, 2013

Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Jewish Community Relations Council express our sincere sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Greater Boston community, courageous runners, family, friends and those visiting from the United States and abroad.

  • Statement of Mayor Michael Bloomberg

As law enforcement authorities investigate today’s explosions in Boston, I ask all New Yorkers to keep the victims and their families in your thoughts and prayers. I have spoken with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and the NYPD has stepped up security at strategic locations and critical infrastructure, including our subways. Some of the security steps we are taking may be noticeable, including deployment of Critical Response Vehicles and additional police personnel, and others will not be. We have 1,000 members of the NYPD assigned to counter-terrorism duties, and they – along with the entire NYPD and the investments we have made in counter-terrorism infrastructure – are being fully mobilized to protect our city.

  • As per the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information of the NYPD:

We’re stepping up security at hotels and other prominent locations in the city through deployment of the NYPD’s critical response vehicles (CRVs) until more about the explosion is learned.

Update: White powder through the mail

Posted on April 30, 2012

Update: Preliminary investigation revealed all suspicious letters received in Manhattan offices today to be non-toxic.  Additional testing of the substances is pending. Several of the envelopes had the following return address:

400 Sunrise Highway, Amityville, NY  11701

If you receive mail with this return address, call 911 immediately.  DO NOT OPEN the envelope or handle it further.

Several envelopes containing a white powder were sent to offices (not Jewish)  in Manhattan locations today.  Reminder: all businesses that have mailrooms should review their handling procedures with staff.  Please advise your mailroom personnel not to handle letters or packages that look suspicious (discoloration, stains, or emits an odor).  Personnel should immediately leave the area and dial 911. Personnel should make sure that no one re-enters the area until the NYPD/FDNY Hazmat Unit declares it safe.  For more information NYPD SHIELD at 718-615-7506 or www.nypdshield.org.

Find the USPS poster giving tips on how to spot suspicious mail and packages here.