It is potentially the 39th terrorist plot foiled against the United States since the attack on September 11, 2001. Yesterday, the NYPD arrested two men seeking to purchase hand grenades and guns for a possible attack against New York City synagogues. This is nothing new—at least three of the attempted terrorist plots since 9/11 have targeted synagogues or Jewish centers and, by our count, this would be the 11th plot against the Big Apple.

While some have been holding their breath for the possibility of retaliation following the death of Osama bin Laden, it seems this plot—and the sting operation which led to the two men’s arrests—had been in motion long before the Navy SEALS operation in Pakistan. As more information presents itself, we will be able to determine if the efforts by these two men were intended to be more than a common crime. Whether this was a terrorist plot or not, one thing is certain: America must be prepared for the next attack. The arrests of these men should serve as a reminder that our government, law enforcement personnel, and the American people cannot tire of being vigilant.

Some of the most recent plots, including the attempted Christmas Day and Times Square bombings, were foiled merely by luck. This incident, however, was stopped through the use of good intelligence and the efforts of local law enforcement. Robust intelligence and information sharing between state, local, and federal law enforcement are central in stopping terrorist plots early, long before the American public is in danger. Without the right investigative tools like the PATRIOT Act, law enforcement may not have the right leads to find a suspect in time to intervene. Likewise, information sharing is essential to ensuring the level of communication necessary to thwart any terrorist attempt.

The bottom line is that luck isn’t enough to fight terrorism. There are real steps the Administration and Congress can take to aid law enforcement in their efforts to keep Americans safe from terrorists. The United States must act long before its citizens are in danger.

Co-Authored by Erin Sedlacek