On Jan. 10, the Pennsylvania State Police launched a new app in both the Apple and Android app stores that allows citizens to send reports on suspicious activity. Called "See Something, Send Something," the app aims to help in the fight against terrorism.
"This App provides concerned citizens with an effective communications and reporting tool," said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan in a press release. "One tip from an alert citizen can prove valuable and protect Pennsylvania from a potential terrorist act."
Developed by My Mobile Witness, the app allows users to capture suspicious activity with national security implications as a photo or descriptive note, and direct it -- in a geo-tagged Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) format -- to the Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center.
The app was launched in a nationwide effort against terrorism, and it ultimately connects concerned citizens, first responders and law enforcement directly to key intelligence centers throughout the United States, according to the company's website. The app is free, and it includes what to look for and when to report suspicious activity.
The Pennsylvania State Police aren't the first to release such an app. The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority offers a "See Something, Say Something" app for transit riders that allows riders to send reports or pictures anonymously, according to the press release.
In Pennsylvania, the app allows the Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center to engage citizens without tracking location or storing of personal information, according to the release, which also states that 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.
The police department said that only reports that document behavior reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with local, state and federal partners, and they encourage users not to submit reports on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation or perceived ethnicity.
“Prevention is everyone’s responsibility,” Noonan said. “We are one neighborhood, one state, one nation; and it is the responsibility of all to remain vigilant and to report suspicious behavior — one report can make a difference.”