Infrastructure Protection Resources

Public Assembly: Nightclubs and Entertainment Districts

The attack in Orlando, as well as in Paris last year, demonstrate terrorists’ continued targeting of nightclubs and entertainment districts. These public assembly locations share common vulnerabilities of open accessibility, dim lighting, and large crowds.

Threats of Most Concern to Nightclubs and Entertainment Districts Include:

  • Small-arms attack
  • Improvised explosive devices
  • Arson or incendiary attacks, including the use of chemical or biological agents

Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activity Include:

  • Individuals wearing bulky clothing that may be used to conceal weapons or explosives
  • Suspicious or illegally parked vehicles near buildings or where crowds gather
  • Unattended packages such as backpacks that could contain explosives
  • Indications of unauthorized access to heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems or suspicious substances near HVAC intakes

Potential Indicators of Terrorist Surveillance Include:

  • Persons loitering in the same area over multiple days with no reasonable explanation
  • Personnel being questioned about venue operations or security measures
  • Unfamiliar employees, contract workers, or unannounced maintenance activities in the vicinity

Considerations for Law Enforcement Include:

  • Prepare mentally and physically for attacks at public venues that could result in mass casualties
  • Be aware of tactical challenges of limited ingress, egress, low visibility, and potential for mass panic
  • Be cognizant of potential for multiple shooters or a barricaded suspect with hostages

Protective Measures Include:

  • Develop plans for security and emergency response
  • Establish regular communications with local law enforcement
  • Conduct regular exercises with employees
  • Incorporate security awareness and response procedures into employee training
  • Control access to the facility and its restricted areas
  • Install and regularly test an emergency communication system
  • Take threats seriously and encourage employees to report any threat or suspicious situation

Incident Response

Alert law enforcement immediately by calling 9-1-1


Visit to connect with the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, find available resources, and maintain threat awareness.


Visit to learn about planning resources that are available for your organization.


Visit to learn about training and exercise programs that are available for your organization.


Dial 2-1-1 or email to report suspicious activity in New Jersey.
Visit to learn more about suspicious activity reporting.