The threat of terrorism has been elevated in Texas due to recent activities of groups like ISIS, a new document by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) reveals.
The department released the 2017 Texas Public Safety Threat Overview. The document contains a comprehensive assessment of the current public safety threats to the state.
The report draws on data from multiple law enforcement and homeland security agencies in Texas.
It details the state’s approach to finding, assessing and prioritizing public safety threats related to terrorism, natural disasters, crime, public health, car crashes, industrial accidents and cyber threats.
The report says threats from foreign terrorist organizations like ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), elevated the current terrorism threat in Texas.
This heightened threat is expected to continue in 2017 due to the high number of terrorist incidents worldwide and threats that have been thwarted.
As recently as last November authorities were reported to be interviewing Muslims in North Texas over a reported terrorist threat around the time of the presidential election.
In 2015, ISIS claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack outside a Prophet Mohammed cartoon contest in Texas that left a security guard wounded.
Two gunmen were shot and killed in police in Garland. It’s not clear if they were ISIS operatives or sympathizers, reported CNN.
Committing acts of terror or assisting or harboring terrorists are federal crimes under the USA Patriot Act enacted after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. These crimes carry high penalties.
The 2017 report is intended to keep Texans safer, the document states.
“Protecting Texans from the full scope of public safety and homeland security threats is the foremost goal of DPS, and the department works with our fellow law enforcement partners at all levels of government to prepare for the unthinkable.” stated DPS Director Steven McCraw.
The report also noted the threat posed to residents of Texas by criminal organizations like drug cartels. While the most significant concentrations of gang activity are usually focused in cities, DPS analysts are tracking suburban gangs and even organized crime in rural parts of Texas. Gang activity is said to be common in some Texas border counties with many of the criminal organizations involved in cross-border narcotics trafficking.
DPS Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program data for 2015 found a 4.7 percent decrease in the major crime rate in Texas from the previous year. However, violent crime is rising and an increase in homicides has been seen in cities like Dallas and San Antonio in 2016.