Anti-terrorism expert: We need to be on alert

MILLERSVILLE, Pa. (WHTM) – There are big questions over safety after two bombings in New York and New Jersey.

“We’re what we tend to call a soft target,” Duane Hagelgans, an assistant professor at Millersville University in the Center for Disaster Research and Education, said of the Midstate.

“We’re in area where somebody could come in here, and if we don’t pay attention, we could potentially get ourselves in trouble,” said Hagelgans, who’s also an anti-terrorism expert.

Hagelgans said the concern is there will be a copycat-style attack. He said individuals acting alone are something everyone should fear.

“It’s easy to find a cell of somebody trying to do something terrible,” he said. “When you have somebody on social media telling all of their “followers” to do something bad, that makes anybody [vulnerable] at anytime.”

Hagelgans told ABC27 the mantra “if you see something, say something” is very important when it comes to preventing attacks.

“Ninety-five percent of the time, somebody knows about it ahead of time,” he said, “so [when] you hear somebody say something that doesn’t sound right, you see somebody writing that doesn’t look right, you see something on social media that doesn’t seem right, [you] just can’t take chances with not reporting.”

Hagelgans said there is a center in Pennsylvania to handle terrorism investigations. He also said most law enforcement agencies accept tips from text messages.

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