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Neighborhood Sensor Program remains strong after one year

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The purpose of the Neighborhood Sensor Program is to monitor and report suspicious activity similar to when these unauthorized individuals gained access through the fence along the base perimeter during Exercise Prairie Defense Wednesday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- The purpose of the Neighborhood Sensor Program is to monitor and report suspicious activity similar to when these unauthorized individuals gained access through the fence along the base perimeter during Exercise Prairie Defense Wednesday. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Joe Laws)

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- After one year since Minot implemented the Minot Air Force Base Neighborhood Sensor Program, the Antiterrorism office recently addressed the program's one-year progress. 

The program relies on base residents who live near the installation's perimeter to actively monitor and report suspicious activity. 

"The most positive aspect of the program over the past year has been the increase in suspicious-activity reporting by base residents," said P.J. Pallotta, 5th Bomb Wing Antiterrorism office. "It's been very hard for us to conduct suspicious activity during base exercises without being detected. That's a great thing!" 

Since the program's inception, the ATO has conducted more than 150 surveillance-detection exercises along the base perimeter with 135 of them receiving positive detections. 

"Most of the detection came from base housing residents," said Tech. Sgt. Robert Simpson, 5th BW/ATO. "The biggest success of the NSP relates to those base residents who are more educated about detecting and reporting suspicious activity."  

The ATO along with the 5th Security Forces Squadron educated residents by walking door to door to houses located on the perimeter and providing one-on-one training and a handbook about the NSP. 

"The majority of those residents who live in base housing adjacent to the base perimeter are aware of the NSP," said Mr. Pallotta. "People are more educated about what to look for, what to report and realize they are the first line of defense in protecting our installation from those persons who want to bring us harm." 

Although the program has been a success, the ATO would like to see some improvements. 

"Overall, suspicious-activity reporting has been very good; but it only takes one non-report to give the edge to a terrorist," said Sergeant Simpson. "We would like to see reporting suspicious activity by housing residents become second nature, almost like the neighborhood watch program, a proactive community concerned with protecting one another and the base as a whole." 

Suspicious behavior can range anywhere from unusual requests for information or interest in high-risk or symbolic targets to unusual activity, avoiding community contact and more. 

"In regards to reporting, it's imperative that we provide law enforcement an accurate report," said Mr. Pallotta. "Sound the alarm immediately, provide a detailed description of the activity and location, person(s), vehicle, and routes of travel.  Make sure you advise law enforcement if you observed weapons, cameras or video devices and any other equipment that they are carrying."    
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