The Pennsylvania State Police recently launched a Smartphone application that allows users to instantaneously send photos or messages to report suspicious activity.
The application, See something, say something, was designed primarily to help state police fight terrorism, but it can be used to report suspicious criminal activity as well, said Trooper Tom Kelly of the state police barracks in Wyoming.
The application is available at no cost to iPhone and Android phone users. It also includes information on what to look for and when to report suspicious activity, along with the ability to receive important safety alerts.
Once downloaded, the application allows users to write a text message, which is sent to a central command center staffed by specially trained analysts. Users also can send photos.
Kelly said the primary focus is to detect suspicious activity that might be related to a terrorism plot – such as a person dropping a suspicious package in a public area, or a person who asks unusually probing questions.
Questions that are beyond mere curiosity – how may floors are there in the building, how many people work here, where do they park, Kelly said.
The application also can be used to report suspected crimes. Police caution users they should not do anything that could put themselves in danger, such as openly snapping photos of people going into a suspected drug house.
The application also is not meant to replace 911 in emergency situations, such as if a user were to witness a car crash, Kelly said. If you see a car accident, call it in, he said. Don't snap a picture of it.
The application was developed by My Mobile Witness, which uses a patent-pending privacy protection software to guard the integrity of tips and citizens' personal information.
The application does require users to provide their name and a contact phone number, Kelly said. That information, which is kept confidential, is sought in case police need to contact the sender for additional information, he said.
Smartphone users can download the application from various application stores, such as Apple or Google, Kelly said.
You can find the See something, say something application in various app stores