As part of the New Jersey State Police, Maritime security is very important on many levels. New Jersey’s state police work to protect by instituting enforcement of laws, preventing crime, and pursuing offenders. This is why it is vital to have maritime laws and support to prevent an attack or criminal behavior. In fact, the state police have instilled a program known as the Maritime Security Initiative, which works as a way for private and corporate waterfront communities to assist law enforcement whenever they can. Just as with any crime, if somebody watches it unravel in front of them, the best way they can assist is to alert law enforcement to the act so that action can be taken.
However, to fully identify criminal behavior, one must look out for factors that stand out from the rest. Here are a few of the most common indicators that terrorist or criminal activity is happening:
- There is reasonably suspicious activity around a waterfront facility or loitering without any reason to be there.
- If there are efforts to avoid contact with others, there may be suspicious activity.
- The people are evading answers to common questions regarding boating.
- They are using inappropriate or suspicious equipment.
- There is dangerous cargo observed in strange locations.
- There has been placing of unusual objects into the waterways near bridges or pipes.
- There are non-typical requests and inappropriate questions being asked about non-tourist locations.
- There have been inappropriate cash payments of large amounts.
Of course, if there is no reason to report, a report should not be made. However, if you have reason to suspect that suspicious activity is happening, the Regional NJSP Marine Station wants to hear from you. You are permitted to report anything that was inadvertently observed and seems suspicious in nature. However, you must have a legitimate reason for being in the place where you made the observation. Wherever you are when you make the report, you should never stray from your normal course of duties. It is a good reminder that law enforcement will handle the issue and you should never take matters into your own hands, as this is extremely dangerous. This means you should never board or walk onto anyone’s vessel or property, never conduct searches of anyone or their property, or attempt to detain suspicious people.
The best thing that you can do to assist the police is to call them. The New Jersey State Police are always hoping to hear from you if you have distinguished that a legitimate problem has been spotted in the area. Remember: People engaged in criminal or terroristic behaviors will often display patterns of behavior that you can identify as criminal action. Even though you should never intervene, the state police ask that you take extensive notes and photograph anything you can relating to the incident.
If you have witnessed criminal or terroristic behavior, do not refrain from contacting either the Regional NJSP Marine Station or New Jersey State Police Marine Services Bureau. Stay safe and always keep a watchful eye out.