FBI, DHS, and TSA partner with the Vehicle Associations to Prevent Terrorist Acts by Rentals

The increased use of rental vehicles being used as weapons in terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States has led to industry associations to begin working with government law enforcement agencies to prevent future attacks. In 2017 the British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) which is the UK trade body for companies engaged in vehicle rental, leasing and fleet management began focusing on terrorism and the use of rental/leased vehicles. This led to BVRLA implementing training programs for their members. Now in 2019 the FBI, DHS, and TSA and the Truck Renting and Leasing Association and the American Car Rental Association have released a short training video to help vehicle rental employees identify suspicious activities and behavior by customers who may wish to use a rented vehicle for nefarious purposes.

In the video the narrator say this to frontline employees working at rental and leasing companies: As a front-line employee at a vehicle rental company, it is important that you know what to do if you encounter a customer who may desire to utilize a rental vehicle in a criminal matter, such as the event you just saw. While the following scenario may constitute perfectly lawful and explainable actions, in some cases, they might indicate something more nefarious. Certain indicators, or a combination of indicators, could warrant additional scrutiny of the customer, in accordance with your company’s policies and procedures. If you believe there is a strong likelihood that a vehicle will be used to do harm, consult your corporation’s policies for denying the rental and for appropriate notification protocols to corporate security and law enforcement. If safe to do so, gather important information and documents such as:

  • A description of the individual

  • Why the encounter was suspicious or alarming

  • Rental agreement documents and identification documents provided to you by the customer

  • Information on any associates present with the customer, and

  • Any information regarding how the customer departed the counter, whether it was in a vehicle, on foot or using public transportation

Now let’s watch a vehicle rental scenario which you might encounter. Look for suspicious activity and behaviors that may be present, and ask yourself, “What would I do?” With the ease of access to vehicles around the world increasing, security professionals, event planners, retailers, law enforcement, military and industry will still have to ensure the hardening of places and events that can be seen as targets for a vehicle attack. Many attackers will do pre-planning to identify their targets. Continued work has to be done to ensure that attackers do not have options to attack and suspicious behavior can be immediately identified. Here is the video from the Partners in Prevention: https://www.fbi.gov/video-repository/vehicle-rentals-vehicle-ramming-013019.mp4/view

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