Washington, D.C. – Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced a series of initiatives to support state and local law enforcement and community groups across the country in identifying and mitigating threats to their communities and expanded DHS’ “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign to the Washington, D.C., area in conjunction with National Night Out, an annual anticrime campaign involving citizens, police and neighborhood groups.
“Homeland security begins with hometown security, and our efforts to confront threats in our communities are most effective when they are led by local law enforcement and involve strong collaboration with the communities and citizens they serve,” said Secretary Napolitano.
Secretary Napolitano was joined at today’s event by Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia Police Chief Cathy Lanier, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Police Chief Michael Taborn, and Homeland Security Advisory Council Chairman Judge William Webster.
The new measures announced today, detailed here (PDF – 2 pages, 25 KB), are based on recommendations made by the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s (HSAC) “Countering Violent Extremism” Working Group—comprised of chiefs of police, sheriffs, community leaders and homeland security experts—on ways DHS can better support community-based efforts to combat violent extremism in the United States.
The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign—originally implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and funded, in part, by $13 million from DHS’ Transit Security Grant Program—is a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats and emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities.
The Washington, D.C., area “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign will leverage the Metropolitan Police Department’s long-standing participation in the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative—leveraging best practices from the law enforcement community while engaging the public in identifying and reporting suspicious activity.
Today’s launch represents the third major expansion of the “If You See Something, Say Something” initiative this summer—following expansions to Amtrak and general aviation in July. In the coming months, DHS will continue to expand the campaign nationally with public education materials, advertisements and other outreach tools to engage travelers, businesses, community organizations and public and private sector employees to remain vigilant and play an active role in keeping the country safe.