We See Something, Why Aren’t We Saying Something?

Researchers at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), working alongside the International Association of Chiefs of Police, want to know why the See Something, Say Something campaign has been such a flop. Improving the Public’s Awareness and Reporting of Suspicious Activity found the top 5 reasons people do not report suspicious activity: 1. Worry about getting an innocent person in trouble (43%); 2. Fear of retaliation (36%); 3. Uncomfortable with judging others (31%); 4. Not sure it’s a worthwhile use of police resources (31%); and 5. Assume someone else will report it (29%).

All pretty good reasons, it seems. 

The report recommends outreach campaigns that “emphasize how important residents’ daily observations can be to keeping communities safe.” It also recommends educating the public as to what constitutes suspicious activity, with communication materials that “encourage the public to expand its idea of suspicious activity to include behaviors that in and of themselves may not be criminal but may be precursors to or indicative of a terrorist act.”

Unclear what this means, but if you have the patience to watch DHS’s educational videos, you will be forgiven for concluding that the top suspicious activity that needs reporting is someone writing things down into a little notebook while wearing a hoodie and a backpack.

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