In a new era where terror threats can be anywhere, New York state developed a smartphone app for residents to be able to report suspicious activity immediately, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday.
The new campaign combines with the MTA police’s hiring of an additional 46 counterterrorism officers for high-profile transit areas. These include Grand Central Terminal, Penn Station and throughout the Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Rail Road and Staten Island Railway systems.
The “See Something, Send Something” app allows anyone to capture suspicious activity as a photo or written note and send the information to the New York State Intelligence Center. From there, the tip will be reviewed and, if relevant, sent to the appropriate law enforcement agency.
The Department of Motor Vehicles will promote the campaign at their offices, as well as along service areas on state highways.
In a press release, Cuomo said that users should confine their reports to 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.”
The state has also instituted new training for police officers based on studies of recent terror attacks. Instead of waiting for heavily-armed Emergency Service Unit teams to arrive for backup, officers are taught to immediately engage a potential terrorist in order to minimize casualties.
The public is also being given new advice. Rather than the traditional “See something, say something, then scatter,” the new recommendation is “run if able, hide if you can, fight if you must.”