New Jersey facing 'high' level of terrorism threat from extremist groups and white supremacists in 2020, officials say

iStock(CAMDEN, N.J.) — Homeland security officials in New Jersey are warning residents of the potential terrorism threats the state faces from extremist and white supremacist groups.

Officials have “taken notice at the rise in activity from white supremacist extremists” and have increased the threat posed by them in 2020 from moderate to high, according to the 2020 terrorism threat assessment released by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.

Homegrown violent extremists are the “most persistent hostile actors in New Jersey,” according to the statement.

The assessment referenced the shooting at the Walmart in El Paso, Texas, in August that targeted the Hispanic community and left 22 dead, another that killed a woman during a Passover service at a synagogue near San Diego in April and the shooting rampage at two mosques in New Zealand that left more than 50 people dead in March 2019.

“New Jersey has also faced incidents supportive of extremist ideologies,” the statement read, mentioning the Jersey City attack “rooted in anti-Semitism” that killed Jersey City Police Det. Joseph Seals and five others in December.

In addition, a man in Camden County was arrested in November on accusations that he directed acts of vandalism against two synagogues in Midwestern states “for the purpose of intimidating minorities,” and a Sussex County man “accused of being obsessed with Nazis and mass shootings” was arrested on weapons charges and bias intimidation in June, according to the statement.

“We will do everything we can to keep you and your families safe. However, we rely on the public’s assistance,” Jared M. Maples, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, said in a statement. “I ask all residents and visitors to ‘See Something, Say Something’ by reporting terrorism-related suspicious activity.”

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.