Authorities in the Northern Virginia region are on alert going into the Halloween weekend amid unspecified potential threats to shopping centers and malls.
Counties in the region – which include some of the most densely populated communities in the Washington, D.C. suburbs – have increased police presence around shopping centers, several police departments said Friday.
Fairfax County Police Chief Kevin Davis said he could not offer specifics about the threat in a press conference Friday regarding where it originated, but said he had been made aware of the potential threat on Thursday.
“As we work to corroborate it, we have increased our police presence throughout the county to include major thoroughfares, transit hubs, shopping plazas and shopping malls,” Davis said at the press conference.
He said his department was already preparing for a long weekend with Halloween on Sunday, schools in Fairfax out on Monday and Virginia elections on Tuesday.
“While we have not received any credible information of a threat, we do ask our community to remain vigilant while we continue working with our law enforcement partners to ensure everyone remains safe,” the Prince William County Police Department said in a statement.
The Arlington County Police Department said in a statement the threat is unspecified and unconfirmed, but there would be stepped up police presence around the county. “There is no specific or identified threat to our region,” the police department said.
The Department of Homeland Security issued an advisory late this summer about possible terrorism threats leading up to the Sept. 11 anniversary and holidays surrounding it. The agency occasionally issues bulletins about nonspecific potential threats.
The agency said in a statement to USA TODAY that it will continue to work closely with local agencies to share information about any potential threats, but did not comment specifically about any threats to the Northern Virginia region.
Contributing: Rebecca Morin