- Janet Napolitano: Large, high-profile gatherings can be targeted for violence
- She says the DHS is partnering with sports leagues in releasing a new PSA
- It's the "If You See Something, Say Something" program expanded to sports stadiums
- Napolitano: Program has proven to be effective; headed off plots
Americans gather every day in airports, movie theaters, playgrounds, town halls, shopping centers, houses of worship, schools, ball parks and sporting arenas. Unfortunately, these gatherings can be targets for acts of violence, particularly when they involve high-profile events.
We are all safer when everyone is alert and engaged. And now the Department of Homeland Security is expanding its coordination -- with Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and the National Hockey League -- by releasing a new public service announcement today to tell their millions of fans: If you see something that doesn't look right, report it to local authorities. In other words, "If You See Something, Say Something."
The campaign supports the DHS belief that homeland security begins with hometown security. We work closely with state and local governments and law enforcement, the private sector, faith-based and community groups, and the public to reduce risks and make our communities safer.
Originally developed by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, "If You See Something, Say Something" is a simple and effective program to raise the public's awareness of indicators of terrorism, and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper authorities.
This kind of reporting by citizens has helped foil numerous plots, including a planned attack against a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day parade route in Washington State in 2010. And when a concerned gun store owner became suspicious of a customer's purchases in Killeen, Texas, last year, he called the authorities and helped prevent a likely attack at Fort Hood.
DHS has expanded the program by partnering with cities, states, universities and private businesses, including the transportation, hospitality and retail sectors, to raise awareness for the "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign. In each sector, we have provided materials and collaborated on advertisements to help engage and educate the public as well as those working behind the scenes. The campaign has also forged a strong partnership with sports in every part of the country, including auto racing and college athletics.
Starting this fall, fans will see the new PSA in stadiums nationwide, urging them to say something if they see something. This could be an unattended bag or package; a vehicle that seems out of place; suspicious behavior or activity, like a person entering a restricted area that should not be there or leaving an item under a seat or behind a trash can.
Everyone has a role in keeping our communities safe. Reports from individual citizens have helped save lives and avert potential catastrophes. When we each do our part, we keep our nation safe, one hometown at a time.