Report: Homegrown violent extremists are 'high' threat to New Jersey

A counterterrorism report by homeland security experts has found that homegrown violent extremists are the single-highest threat to the state of New Jersey.

The assessment, released Tuesday by the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, found that homegrown violent extremists were the only category presenting a "high" threat level to the state.

New Jersey Homeland Security Director Christopher Rodriguez says these homegrown extremists may be inspired by overseas extremists like the Islamic State group, but are not actually members. The terror groups aren't the ones giving them orders either.

The director says tips from the public are crucial to stopping would-be terrorists. He says there are often warning signs.

"There are indications of violence along the path to an operation," Rodriguez says. "We rely on family members, associates, and work colleagues to report that suspicious activity to law enforcement."

A review found the number of domestic attacks across the U.S. were on the rise, with 22 domestic terror attacks and 17 plots, threats of violence and weapons stockpiling incidents in 2016. The office reported 16 instances in each category the previous year.

The Islamic State group and al-Qaeda were listed as only moderate threats in the report.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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