A new smart phone app that allows people to report terrorism, suspicious activity and other serious crimes to the Pennsylvania State Police is gaining popularity.
“We have received a handful of very useful tips so far so we’re excited the people are using it and it’s a great tool to get us information,” said State Trooper Adam Reed “We’ve been getting a lot of calls from neighborhood watch groups seeking more information about the app, for example. We’ve found that a lot of people are using it and downloading it.”
The new ‘See Something, Send Something’ app allows suspicious activity to be captured as a photo or written note and sent to the Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center.
“We’ve had drug activity being reported, or it can also be used to for such things as individuals taking photographs of infrastructure such as roadways or buildings,” said Reed.
It also includes information on what to look for and when to report suspicious activity, along with how to receive important alerts.
We offer tips on there on things to look out for such as suspicious individuals taking pictures of infrastructure. Whether it’s buildings, highway systems, bridges, overpasses, things of that nature,” said Reed.
My Mobile Witness uses patent-pending privacy protection software for safeguarding the integrity of tips and citizens’ personal information. The system allows the PaCIC to engage citizens without tracking location or storing of personal information. Submitted tips are immediately removed from the mobile device and purged from the My Mobile Witness system once delivered to the intelligence center for analysis.
State police are asking that people only report terroristic activities and more serious crimes. They have been getting tips for things such as people parking in handicapped spaces and people running red lights. These are not the types of tips they want reported through the app.
Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious activity. For that reason, the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or briefcase in a public place) rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity. Only reports that document behavior reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with local, state and federal partners.
In addition to the new mobile app, people can call the toll-free State Police Terrorism Tip Line at 1-888-292-1919 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to report suspicious individuals or activity.
In the case of an immediate threat or emergency, call 911 immediately. “It’s more geared toward terrorism but we also want to stress if it is an emergency please dial 911. Don’t rely on the app to report a crime in progress,” said Reed.