- The US Department of Homeland Security divides the Commercial Facilities Sector into eight sub-sectors that encompass public assembly and outdoor events. These events include a diverse range of sites that draw large crowds of people for shopping, business, entertainment, or lodging, as well as for fireworks, marathons, and parades.
- Facilities within the sector generally have open public access, meaning that the general public can move freely without the deterrent of highly visible security barriers.
- The majority of these facilities are privately owned and operated, with minimal interaction with the federal government and other regulatory entities.
- New Jersey has several large sporting and concert venues, including MetLife Stadium, the Monmouth Park Racetrack, and the PNC Bank Arts Center, as well as three aquariums and several zoos. Atlantic City hosts the yearly Miss America pageant and is also home to the Atlantic City Convention Center, which has a square footage of 500,000 feet.
Special Events Reporting
NJOHSP compiles a list of special events throughout the State. We encourage our partners to share information on events in their jurisdictions by submitting a Special Events Submission Form.
- Homegrown violent extremists (HVEs) are most likely to attack commercial assets and mass gatherings in New Jersey. Foreign terrorist organizations such as ISIS and al-Qa’ida continue to encourage HVEs to conduct attacks on soft targets and inspire attacks through propaganda.
- Recent attacks such as those at the Boston Marathon in April 2013; at a concert in Manchester, England, in June 2017; and at an outdoor concert in Las Vegas in October 2017 demonstrate that large-scale events remain attractive targets for terrorists and active shooters.
- In September 2016, homemade explosives were found at three locations in New Jersey and New York. The first device exploded on September 17 in a garbage can in Seaside Park before the start of the Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5K run. The second explosion occurred on the same day in Manhattan, injuring 31. The third set of devices was found on September 18 in a backpack near the Elizabeth train station. The suspect, Elizabeth resident Ahmad Khan Rahimi, was apprehended after a shootout with police in Linden on September 19. In October 2017, Rahimi was convicted in federal court of all eight counts against him in connection to the Manhattan explosion, including one count of using a weapon of mass destruction, and was sentenced to life in prison in February 2018.
- In October 2017, a gunman opened fire on a crowd at the outdoor Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, killing 58 and wounding 546. The motive is still unknown.
- In October 2017, New Jersey resident Sayfullo Saipov drove a pickup truck down a bike path along the Hudson River in lower Manhattan—killing eight and injuring 11—before crashing into a school bus. Police shot Saipov after he exited the vehicle holding paintball and pellet guns. The attack method followed the instructions in the November 2016 issue of ISIS’s English-language magazine, Rumiyah, which specifically mentions using vehicles as weapons under a section titled “Just Terror Tactics.”
On the county level, New Jersey offers a variety of services and resources, such as facility security assessments and consultations, special event planning support, and intelligence threat monitoring. Please contact your county’s Counterterrorism Coordinator, Risk Mitigation Planner, or Critical Infrastructure Coordinator at your County Prosecutor’s office for the services and resources they offer in your area.
Mass Gathering Resources
- Publications and Products: Unclassified documents, including the 2018 Terrorism Threat Assessment and “At a Glance” https://www.njhomelandsecurity.gov/publications/
- Training and Exercise Programs: Overview on Active Shooter Resources, Terrorism Awareness and Prevention, and the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium https://www.njhomelandsecurity.gov/programs
- What To Do - Bomb Threat: Guidance and resources outlining in-depth procedures for either bomb threats or suspicious items and assistance on how to prepare and react appropriately during these events https://www.dhs.gov/what-to-do-bomb-threat
- Risk from Vehicle-Ramming Attack: A resource sheet on the challenges and risk mitigation measures involving vehicle-ramming attacks https://static1.squarespace.com/static/54d79f88e4b0db3478a04405/t/5a621bb5c83025e142b248cc/1516379063412/Risk+from+Vehicle-Ramming+Attack.pdf
Call: 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ (866-472-3365)
For more information on New Jersey’s SAR program, visit:
“SAFE-NJ” Mobile SAR app is available on iTunes, Google Play,
and Microsoft libraries.