Washington: Amid increasing threat from home-grown terrorists, the US has launched a `See Something, Say Something` campaign, similar to the one in India where people are urged to immediately report to police after noticing unidentified objects in public places and on trains and buses.
The first phase of the nationwide campaign was launched by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano in partnership with the Amtrak rail company as part of her Department`s Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR).
The campaign is similar to the one launched by India in mid-80s, wherein people were urged to immediately report to police/law enforcement agencies if they saw any unidentified objects or bags at public places and on trains and buses. The practice is still followed in India.
"Implementing a national suspicious activity reporting partnership with Amtrak and expanding the `See Something, Say Something` campaign strengthens our ability to guard against terrorism and crime," Napolitano said.
"These initiatives enable us to provide frontline security personnel with the latest information and intelligence to recognise behaviours and indicators associated with new and evolving threats," she said.
The announcement about the campaign came during a multi-stop train tour through New York City, Newark, Philadelphia and Washington.
Napolitano was joined by Amtrak Police Chief John O`Connor as well as law enforcement leaders and elected officials.
The `See Something, Say Something` campaign – originally implemented by New York City`s Metropolitan Transit Authority and funded, in part, by USD 13 million from the Transit Security Grant Programme - is a simple and effective programme to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats and emphasise the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities, an official release said.
In the coming months, the Department of Homeland Security will expand the `See Something, Say Something` campaign nationally with public education materials, advertisements and other outreach tools to continue engaging travellers, businesses, community organisations and public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe, it said.
The campaign complements the national SAR initiative – a partnership among federal, state and local law enforcement -- to establish a standard process for law enforcement to identify and report suspicious incidents or activity and share that information nationally so it can be analysed to identify broader trends.