HIAWASSEE, Ga. – Hiawassee Police Chief Paul Smith is encouraging citizens to install a cellphone application to report suspicious activity to authorities.
“See Something, Send Something” provides a platform to capture a photo of suspicious activity or send in information with written text, the Georgia Department of Safety website explains. Information received in the app is sent directly to the Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center (GISAC) where the tips can be evaluated and provided to law enforcement across the state as needed. The application is available at no cost for iPhone and Android phone users, as well as iPad users.
“They now have a crime analyst on duty 24 hours a day, and if anybody sees something suspicious or hears about something suspicious going on, they can get on that app – and they can do it anonymously- and it will be looked at by a crime analyst,” Chief Smith said. “If it’s something that needs to be handled on a local level, they’ll send it on to us. If it’s something more toward the level of domestic terrorism, then they have the resources there to work with it. They just launched the app and they want everybody to have it.”
The Department of Homeland Security lists the following as examples of suspicious activity:
- Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
- Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
- Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.
Some of these activities could be innocent—it’s important to consider the context of the situation. It’s then up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants an investigation.