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Counter-Terrorist Officials Rely on Vigilant Workers | Crime

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Counter-Terrorist Officials Rely on Vigilant Workers

LAS VEGAS -- On the heels of a failed car bombing in New York City, Las Vegas authorities are emphasizing the importance of civilian vigilance. 

Terrorism and mass destruction charges were filed against Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani born U.S. citizen arrested late Monday after being pulled off a Dubai-bound flight taxiing away from JFK Airport.

According to police, he confessed to buying a vehicle, rigging it with a bomb and trying to detonate it in Times Square.

The plan was thwarted by a vigilant street vendor who sounded the alarm, potentially saving hundreds of lives.

Las Vegas authorities say without those extra sets of eyes and ears on the streets, they would work blindly. Since 9-11, Las Vegas has been named as one of the top 10 targets in the nation, mainly because of the hospitality industry. But a lot of people don't realize how much Strip workers make a difference protecting the city. Just like the vendor in Times Square, they see so many people every day, they can spot what's normal and what's not.

"One time, a couple of years ago, we called the police because there was a suspicious package on the Strip and it turned out to be nothing but as the police said they would rather be safe than sorry," said Ron Shea.

Metro Lt. Tom Monahan says vigilant people on the street level are vital to public safety, especially along the resort corridor.

"Without their reporting, we would be operating blindly. We wouldn't know what is going on," he said. "It is the job of the valet or the bell captain. They see what people do and are very sensitive when something isn't right."

The Southern Nevada Counter-Terrorism Center works closely with hotel employees, teaching them the seven signs of terrorism. For example, a tourist taking pictures that are not common. It's workers like Shea who will catch it.

"They can tell you what most tourists photograph and when they see someone photograph something that is not typical, it raises their suspicious and their instincts are typically correct and all that we ask is that they report that to us," said Lt. Monahan.


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