As we mark the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that killed almost 3,000 people, including 749 New Jerseyans, all Garden State residents are being urged to stay vigilant today.

One World Trade Center (Spencer Platt, Getty Images)

"In the mind of a terrorist, they are looking for the day and the time and the opportunity when we let our guard down, so although it is sometimes challenging to maintain that vigilance, it is critical," said Vincent Bove, a New Jersey security expert.

"There are only so many law enforcement officials and private security representatives, so it's a task for all of us to keep our eyes and ears open, especially on memorials, because memorials are trophy days in the eyes of terrorists," said Bove.

He said many terror groups around the world see the United States as a potential target, and it's critical that law enforcement agencies collaborate with each other on the federal, state and local levels.

Law enforcement must also collaborate with citizens since they are often the first line of defense. "Citizens are often the eyes and ears to what can happen in our communities," said Bove.

If anything looks or seems even remotely suspicious, New Jerseyans should immediately alert authorities.  "Always choose an abundance of caution and report it to authorities, rather than remain silent. The responsibility of protecting the homeland is the responsibility of every American, and everyone who loves America," said Bove.