New Yorkers have long been asked to say something if they see something. Now they have the choice of sending something, as well.
State and local law enforcement Monday unveiled a new smartphone app that allows users to send photos or text to alert authorities of possible suspicious activity.
The app, formally called “See Something Send Something,” is intended to allow users to assist in the fight against terrorism by allowing an easy means to send information about people or objects that may need further scrutiny.
The app gives a list of examples of suspicious activity, from eliciting information to discovery of weapons. All include wording that a “reasonable person” might find the activity suspicious.
State police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said Monday that individuals who require immediate police response should still dial 911. But he said the app allows law enforcement to take the long-used “see something, say something” effort to the next level.
“It’s a great and easy tool for everyone who has a phone and we’re trying to put it in the pockets of all New Yorkers,” he said at a news conference.
Information sent with the app goes to the nearest intelligence center, D’Amico said. It can be used nationwide and some other states also offer the app.
The intelligence center receives the individual’s phone number as part of the information sent, like a text message, D’Amico said. Police will reach out if they need more, but will respect confidentiality.
John Melville, state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services commissioner, called the app a “big deal.”
He recalled his own long law enforcement career and said one piece of information often can solve a crime or alert law enforcement to something in the works.
“I think ‘See Something Send Something’ is a wonderful new asset, not just for law enforcement, but for the general public at large,” Melville said.
The app is also in addition to the See Something Say Something hotline, 1-866-SAFE-NYS.