Threat, yes. Is it credible?
Today, Jewish organizations were made aware of an email threat sent to a national Jewish organization threatening violence. It is unknown at this time if the threat is credible and no specific locations were named.
Given the nature of the email and threat of violence, law enforcement officials are actively investigating the threat. In light of the number of shootings at universities, schools, malls and other public places over the past several weeks (none of which had any Jewish connection), we are sharing this information out of an abundance of caution. We encourage Jewish organizations to increase security awareness and vigilance at your facilities, review security plans and ensure appropriate security measures are in place.
- Connect with local law enforcement to discuss security. If you have not established personal relationships with key police personnel, set up a meeting to do so.
- Ensure that your institution’s rules and procedures dealing with who gets into your facility and events are sufficient and are functioning (access control). See JCRC-NY’s Sample Building Access Policies & Procedures (PDF).
- A facility should have as few entry points as possible (ideally one), so that no one is able to enter your facility without being greeted and observed. Be sure to obey all fire codes and ensure adequate routes for exiting the building.
- Suspicious behavior should be promptly reported to the police or security personnel. See ADL’s Guide to Detecting Surveillance of Jewish Institutions.
- Suspicious packages and strange devices should be promptly reported to the police or security personnel. See US Postal Inspection Service Guide to Mail Center Security (PDF).
- Ensure that your staff members, including newly hired personnel, know their role in security and what to do in the event of an emergency.
- Ensure that existing safety devices (video cameras, lights, walkie talkies, etc.) are in good working condition.
- Trust your instincts. If something strikes you as being out of place or problematic, call the police immediately.
Jewish organizations should work to create a “culture of security” that balances keeping everyone and everything safe, with an organization’s need to be warm and welcoming. If your organization has a culture of security you will have a plan to implement when there is a threat.
Are you ready to start? The resources on JCRC-NY’s Security Info Webpage, JCRC-NY’s Security Resources Webpage, ADL’s Security Website, ADL’s security manual Protecting Your Jewish Institution and Emergency Planning Manual: Disaster and Crisis Response Systems for Jewish Organizations, published by United Jewish Communities and written by John Jay College of Criminal Justice and JCRC-NY are great places to start.