In October, Robert Bowers targeted members of the Jewish community when he entered a Pittsburgh synagogue and opened fire, killing 11 people and injuring six. It was an attack not only toward members of that congregation, but also against all citizens throughout the United States who should be able to go about their daily lives without fearing for their safety at any event or venue.
The threat from individuals who similarly wish to do harm has hit home in New Jersey as well. In May, NJOHSP detectives arrested and charged a sovereign citizen extremist for the first time under a new State statute for filing fraudulent liens. In October, an anti-government extremist transported explosive materials through our State with the goal of conducting an attack on Election Day in Washington, DC. That same month, Cesar Sayoc Jr. mailed Cory Booker and 15 other Democratic figureheads packages that contained improvised explosive devices.
These incidents further demonstrate the wide-ranging ideologies associated with domestic terrorism and have only further strengthened our Office’s resolve to protect the diversity that makes New Jersey so unique. As an example, membership in the Interfaith Advisory Council increased more than 500 percent from the previous year, and the partnerships developed between faith-based leaders and government representatives have resulted in greater security and preparedness throughout New Jersey.
In the year ahead, NJOHSP will move forward in keeping all critical infrastructure across New Jersey secure through trainings, resource availability, and grant opportunities. We will also continue developing our relationships with public- and private-sector partners with intelligence products detailing current threats and briefings relevant to a variety of audiences. At NJOHSP, we remain committed to doing all that is necessary to make certain you and your families are safe and secure. However, this can only be accomplished with your assistance. I ask that all residents and visitors throughout New Jersey remain vigilant and “See Something, Say Something” by reporting suspicious activity at 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ or firstname.lastname@example.org.