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Most Americans are familiar with the Department of Homeland Security’s “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign. The program, which encourages citizens to report suspicious activities to local authorities, has been in place in Los Angeles since 2009, according to the Los Angeles Times. And with the launch of iWatchLA, a new anti-terrorism smartphone app, the Los Angeles Police Department is making it even easier for residents to help keep the City of Angels safe.
The app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, is a cutting-edge step forward in public safety. More and more, texting and instant messaging have supplanted phone calls as the preferred method of communication — and iWatchLA uses this to its advantage, giving users a direct link to the LAPD’s Counter-Terrorism and Special Operations Bureau. With just a few clicks, anyone can file a real-time report on what they believe might be some sort of criminal activity, and can include photos and audio in their reports.
If you’re not sure just what constitutes suspicious activity, iWatchLA can help there, too. The app also serves as a resource for educating the public on terrorism-related behaviors. It points, for instance, to a hotel guest who arrives with a vast collection of luggage or one who refuses housekeeping service as possible red flags.
There are, of course, plenty of reasonable explanations for both of those aforementioned behaviors as well, but the LAPD has made it clear that users should err on the side of safety. And that they should focus on the behaviors in particular, not the individuals. “We’d rather have more information than less,” LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said during a recent news conference. “We don’t mind doing the vetting.”
Among the details the police are looking for are where an activity took place, the time of day it occurred, a description of the people you saw, exactly what you saw and whether you’ve seen this same activity happening in the same area before.
“We can’t be everywhere,” said LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, “but the public is everywhere.”
H/T: Los Angeles Times
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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