The fact that little is private, or can be concealed from public view, was tantamount to capturing suspects in last week’s Boston Marathon bombing.
The presence of cellphone cameras and video recorders at the finish line seems to have been critical in bringing the investigation to the current point.
But not every crime is caught on camera. In part, that’s how Americans have become the eyes and ears of reporting suspicious activity to police. The phrase, “If you see something, say something,” is common in large cities, and will likely become so in smaller towns.
A survey released last week indicated that 56 percent of Americans said they had not heard of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. However, 57 percent of respondents indicated that they were willing to meet with homeland security or local police to talk about reporting suspicious activity, according to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. To report suspicious activity, contact immediate on-site security, the local law enforcement’s non-emergency line or the Indiana Intelligence Fusion Center at (877) 226-1026. If violence is imminent, call 911.
What to look for?
A person taking photos at a high-profile event is not unusual in itself but if that person is snapping photos of security cameras or personnel, that activity could be suspicious. Make note of the description of individuals such as gender, age, physical description and unique characteristics. Write down any vehicles, make and model of the vehicle, and the direction of travel.
Beyond that, always take precautions when going to an event. Look for a second exit in case of fire. Take a look around to see if any construction or props (think of the Indiana State Fair stage collapse) could fall and injure you. Keep a friend with you and set up a meeting place in case you get lost.
The old maxim still applies: Better safe than sorry. But while watching the tragedy unfold in Boston, Americans were reminded that vigilance begins at home.
The tragedy in Boston should underscore the notion of safety and “if you see something, say something.”