If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting questionable activity to local law enforcement authorities. It was launched in the wake of September 11th, when the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority enlisted the eyes and ears of New York citizens as part of a local anti-terrorism strategy. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) obtained licensing rights of the slogan for anti-terrorism efforts nationally. DHS has promoted the campaign via partnerships with states, sports leagues, universities, property groups, and malls throughout the country. More information can be found at www.dhs.gov/if-you-see-something-say-something-campaign.
While the campaign is a federal effort, funding is being provided for regional entities to spread the message at the local level. Promoting the campaign in our community is important because Orange County can be a target – just like any other large metropolitan area – for terrorist acts. Terrorism is not just a national issue and many citizens may not be aware that they can be active participants in keeping our local community and therefore, our nation safe. So remember: homeland security starts with hometown security.
Simply be aware of your surroundings, use common sense and report something that does not seem “right” to local authorities – or call 911 in an emergency. This can include:
- An unattended bag, briefcase or box
- A car or truck left in a “No Parking” zone that is located in front of a public building
- Unfamiliar chemical smells or fumes
- Someone drawing, taking pictures or measurements of important buildings
You are encouraged to use common sense to report questionable objects or behavior that could be indicators of terrorism. Because you’re familiar with your neighborhood and community, your common sense can and will guide you to recognize things that are unusual, such as a bag left alone in a public venue. You can learn about key indicators of a potential terrorist act by visiting KeepOCSafe.org. Think about it this way – if something that grabs your attention as unusual it is better to be safe and report it to the authorities.
If You See Something, Say Something™ does not promote spying on others or making any other judgments based on race, ethnicity, national origin or religious affiliation. The approach is similar to neighborhood watch efforts, but for our greater Orange County community. It’s also in line with other initiatives such as the AMBER Alert™ Program (related to child abduction), which asks citizens to assist the police in the recovery efforts by reporting if they see something. If You See Something, Say Something™ simply encourages citizens to be active participants in helping to keep the community safe.