BALTIMORE (WJZ) — From coast to coast, there are fears ISIS sympathizers could take aim on America this holiday weekend.
WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren on precautions being taken.
More eyes will be on the crowds this weekend. Authorities in Baltimore–with its proximity to Washington, and home to iconic symbols of America–are on alert against threats from ISIS sympathizers.
“All the police departments, not only in Baltimore City but throughout the state, are on notice. There have been alerts sent out by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to be vigilant and prepared,” said Vernon Herron, University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security.
It comes as law enforcement has arrested dozens affiliated with ISIS across the country.
There have already been 24 ISIS-linked plots against Western targets year-to-date, rising from 19 during all of last year.
“There has been nothing substantiated at this point in time. We’re just asking the public to be vigilant. If they see something, to let us know so we can address it. But again, we’re not trying to discourage anyone from not enjoying themselves and having a great Fourth of July,” said Sgt. Marc Black, Maryland State Police.
Federal authorities caution they know of no specific plots. Sources say they are monitoring an unusual amount of chatter online.
The FBI director spoke about the threat of ISIS-inspired violence on U.S. soil during a recent Baltimore visit.
“We are working those cases, trying to evaluate those people to see where they are on a journey from consuming propaganda that’s coming through social media to acting on that propaganda and killing someone,” said James Comey, FBI director.
This Fourth of July, the challenge is protecting the freedom America is built on, while maintaining a sufficient level of security to stop any attack.