SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- This isn't the first time Bill Smullen, the director of National Security Studies at Syracuse University, has sat at his desk, watching the news about the most recent terror attack.

"Home-grown terrorism: It's part of life not just here in America, it's part of life around the world, whether it's Belgium or France, or you name it," Smullen said.

But these attacks, Smullen says, are different, especially their timing.

"Perhaps he was trying to make a statement," Smullen continued. "The UN General Assembly started over the weekend and will run this week in New York City, so he could have been trying to tell people who were coming from all parts of the world that America is unsafe."

But the Director of Research of the Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, Corri Zoli, says the U.S. is still safe. She says while these attacks are becoming all too familiar, the FBI and other officials are on guard 24/7, doing their best to prevent them. 

"They are doing surveillance on foreign operatives; they are tracking all kinds of communication to make sure if people are planning or operationalizing some kind of cell; they're doing something about it," Zoli explained.

Zoli also says there's been a shift, with attacks targeting smaller communities, many which are hard to prepare for. 

“Local communities like Syracuse, New York, all of a sudden we might start feeling a little vulnerable because of this, because you're seeing these kind of attacks become low-tech or defused attacks, instead of targeting LA or an airport or whatever," Zoli said.

The best defense is to stay proactive, be aware of your surroundings -- and of course, if you see something, don't be afraid to say something.