Terrorism is the use of force or violence against persons or property in violation of the criminal laws of the United States for purposes of intimidation, coercion or ransom.

  • Terrorists bypass established institutions (such as courts), using violence against citizens to force changes in society and force governments to change policies toward their cause.
  • Terrorists might use weapons of mass destruction. Weapons of mass destruction include toxic or poisonous chemicals, disease organisms, dangerous radiation, explosive incendiary or poison gas bombs, grenades, rockets or missiles, mines or similar devices. Terrorists also use traditional weapons such as automatic guns or grenades in armed attacks on targets.

Depending on the severity and type of the attack, many things could happen in your community:

  • There could be many casualties.
  • There could be significant damage to buildings and the community’s infrastructure.
  • Health and mental health resources in the affected communities could be strained to the limits, might be even overwhelmed.

  • There could be heavy law enforcement involvement at local, state and federal levels due to the event's criminal nature.
  • An area might have to be evacuated.
  • Workplaces and schools might be closed, and there might be restrictions on domestic and international travel.
  • Cleanup might take months.
  • Public fear could continue for a prolonged period.

Please report all potential terrorist activity to the Virginia Terrorism Hotline: 1-877-4VA-TIPS or 1-877-482-8477

Stay Informed Know the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s National Terrorism Advisory System