Antwerp is considered a possible target for terrorist organizations from all over the world. Terrorist groups might damage our beautiful city with their actions and try to impact our national economy in the process. For this very reason, as a welcoming and multicultural city with an international port and a valuable historic city center, we must remain vigilant.
To keep our city permanently safe from terrorism, we sought new and efficient ways to obtain and share crucial information with the private sector or the general public. Within the New York Police Department (NYPD), such an information network has existed for many years under the name SHIELD. In Antwerp, the fight against terrorism is high up on the list of priorities. I think that countering terrorism is not solely a task of the police, but also a shared responsibility between the police and the community. We would like everyone to help us keep our country and Antwerp in particular free from terrorism. Be vigilant for suspicious things or behaviors and most importantly, report them to the police. Citizens are best placed to notice suspicious things and report them to our services. After all, they know the buildings and the neighborhood better than anyone else.
With SHIELD, information sharing works in two directions. Within the NYPD's international SHIELD program, this information sharing between police and the private sector has already provided many benefits in the past. The project does not replace existing programs that have already been rolled out within the private security sector in the past. SHIELD is an information hub for terrorism related updates that simultaneously provides the latest and most important messages on industry-specific threats.
I am honored, as the chief of police of the Antwerp police department, to have even stronger relationships with the members of this new network. Let us embark on our mission together, because together we can make Antwerp an even safer city.