See it…say something

Recently, following on New York City Transit’s theme, See Something, Say Something, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the kickoff of a broader federal program to enlist the public in helping to identify suspicious people and events to provide another barrier to terrorism and other criminal activity on public transportation.

She made the announcement in New York’s Penn Station, the nation’s busiest train station. Her comments were further echoed in Baltimore at the 34th Annual NOBLE event, an event of senior law enforcement leadership. The theme this year was “Helping to Change the Blueprint of Law Enforcement in America.” This national information-sharing partnership with DHS and Amtrak is part of the department’s Suspicious Activity Reporting program to improve public transportation security by involving federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The DHS Secretary believes that collaboration between all agencies allows law enforcement to cast a wider net and begin to tap into technology, share information and develop a deeper knowledge base concerning our common threats.

Since 2002, posters encouraging, "If you see something, say something" have become commonplace for New York City subway riders and it paid off recently when Times Square street vendors noticed a smoking SUV with the engine running and blinkers flashing. Police cleared the square and dismantled a homemade, but dangerous bomb inside the vehicle.

These kinds of initiatives, combined with additional training for law enforcement personnel and additional electronic technology such as video surveillance, can be very important steps in improving security for the millions of U.S. residents that count on public transportation each day.

— Larry Mays