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With Sullivan County as potential incubator for terrorists, officials urge public to remain vigilant

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Albany/HV: With Sullivan County as potential incubator for terrorists, officials urge public to remain vigilant
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According to our Regional Counter Terrorism Action Team, terrorists often target major cities, making the surrounding suburban areas potential breeding grounds for these groups. Our Eva McKend met with officials deployed in Sullivan County and has more on the "See Something, Say Something" initiative.

THOMPSON, N.Y. -- A terrorist planning an attack would be more likely to conspire in a rural area.

But Counter Terrorism Zone 4 says just because malicious groups may be out of plain sight, doesn't mean they should be out of the minds of law enforcement and a watchful public.

"We want to make sure we stay on point in law enforcement and we don’t become complacent. You have to understand, September 11th is the reason why we formulated all of these counter terrorism zones," said Gregory Gaetano, Co-Chair of Counter Terrorism Zone 4.

The Sullivan County Sheriff's Office, State Police and Fallsburg officers lined Route 42 outside of Thompson Square Mall in Sullivan County.

In recent months, according to the County's Commissioner of Public Safety, the FBI warned about the region being a potential incubator for terrorist activity.

"The rural nature of the county is conducive to terrorists operating in secret: building bombs, training and practicing with weapons," said Sullivan County Undersheriff Eric Chaboty.

Homeland Security Counter-Terrorism Action Teams were deployed to malls in Orange, Sullivan and Rockland County. Officials say malls are particularly vulnerable because of the high concentration of people.

"Any large gathering, any place where people gather, a transportation facility, a mall, a public building, those are all the favorite targets of terrorists," said Chaboty.

While officials say it's hard to measure the success of preventive action, it's this work that makes the difference and urge people to report anything that appears to be an anomaly.

"When we partner with the public and get information from them, we can act on those suspicious things, run them down and often times things are prevented that way," said Jamie J. Kaminski, the Liberty based New York State Police Troop F Captain.

Commercial vehicle checks were also conducted as part of Wednesday's efforts.

Throughout the year, the Counter Terrorism group meets regularly to study trends and go over reports of incidents from around the world.

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