University of Akron homeland security professor tells students to watch for possible bomb makers

David Licate tailors class towards Boston events

AKRON, Ohio - A University of Akron criminal justice professor doesn't want to instruct his homeland security class on how to make a bomb, but he hopes his students will be vigilant looking for those who may be buying bomb-making materials.

David Licate timed Friday's lesson to coincide with the tragic events that continue to unfold surrounding the bombings at the Boston Marathon.

He stressed that the community needs to watch for warning signs or suspicious behavior to prevent other tragedies.

"The day of an attack, unfortunately, is not the time to be thinking about prevention," Licate said.

Licate referred to a bomb-making awareness program sponsored by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security when speaking to the students, hoping to land jobs in law enforcement or private security.

He emphasized that store workers and customers should be watching for people buying large amount of chemicals used in nail polish remover, pools, batteries or fertilizer.

"If you have individuals that are purchasing mass quantities or they're purchasing fertilizer and they have no use for such a mass quantity, that's an indicator," Licate said.

Although it may seem awkward, Licate said people should try to make conversation if they spot a suspicious purchase.

"Strike up a conversation. Ask them about it. If it's suspicious, write some information down," Licate said.

He also said odd behaviors such as nervousness, insistence on in-store pick-up or large cash purchases could also be warning signs.

Many of the students believe Licate's lesson was very important and some already practice what he preached.

"Anytime I go out in a big, public event, I'm always looking around. I'm always looking over my shoulder making sure who is there, who is around me," said Adam Daugherty, a UA student from Stow.

"Taking all these classes I guess is kind of a blessing and a curse. Anymore, me personally, I can't go anywhere without looking around and trying to be aware," said Curtis Taylor, a UA student from Rootstown.

Licate added that the bad guys are already looking for ways to build bombs so the rest of us need to do anything we can to stop them.

"We have to be eternally vigilant. That's the price of freedom. The price of liberty is vigilance," he said.

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