Threat incident an example of ‘see something, say something’

Ron Craig

Crime Prevention Corner

The terrorist threat-related incident that occurred in Lake Township this past Monday morning is a perfect example of why we have been advocating the “see something, say something” mantra since the attacks of 9-11.
While the case is still under investigation, a man and a woman, both from Virginia, were charged with felony counts of making terroristic threats, carrying concealed weapons, and other charges. It all began, however, when an observant citizen noticed the couple acting suspiciously near Lake Schools.
Before it was over and the two were taken into custody, multiple law enforcement agencies joined Lake Township police, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Secret Service, and Toledo Police Department.
One the biggest problems law enforcement faces in dealing with these types of incidents is the reluctance of people to report what they see, hear, and read. Many times, people think someone else will report it but if everyone thinks the same thing, no one reports it and potential harm may become reality.
Terrorist threats are seen in posts to social media when someone becomes brazen enough to brag about their strong feelings on certain issues and threaten harm as a way to attempt to gain support for their cause.
A local example of this was a case in Fostoria a few years ago where a man threatened a racial cleansing event at a public park and posted details on social media to get others to join him. Someone saw the post and reported it to Fostoria police, who were able to thwart the move. The man was charged and convicted of crimes related to the posting.
There are also incidents in which people overhear or are part of a conversation which includes threats of harm against others. Sometimes these incidents amount to nothing more than someone blowing off steam or just “talking big” to impress others. However, there are times someone may make good on the threats.
We can also make a positive impact by being observant to things going on around us. Such was the case last week in Lake Township when a citizen saw the Virginia couple acting suspiciously. The citizen could have gone on their way and not given a second thought about it. That citizen did the right thing and reported it, leading to the arrests.
As Police Chief Mark Hummer pointed out in a television news interview following the arrests, there were many causes of concern regarding this particular incident. There was a school nearby as well as an airport, railroad tracks, and major public transportation routes. Each of these aspects individually were causes of major concern, but collectively increased these concerns exponentially.
As the citizen made the call last Monday to report what was observed, there was no way they could know the vast impact the report would have to the safety and well-being of all the students at the school, those at the airport and on trains, and those travelling down the roadways.
If you are privy to such information, you must ask yourself how you would feel if the threats come to fruition and someone is hurt or killed, and you did not report it. Any decent human being would wish they could do it all over again and do the right thing by making a call.

This article is a public service from the Community Policing/Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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