In the past, a citizen reporting something seen that is questionable has been discouraged as an example of “profiling.”
Ever since the September 11th attacks, U.S. citizens have known that terrorists can and are planning an attack on U.S. soil at some point again, but there has been so far no government effort to engage citizens’ help in identifying those plans.
But now in New Jersey, there is an effort by Homeland Security to encourage citizens to not only keep their eyes open but to report activity that seems suspicious to the U.S. government.
Roadway signs in New Jersey have now appeared that read, “Suspect Terrorism? See Something, Say Something,” with a tip line number to report threats.
These signs are part of a public safety campaign launched last month by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) in partnership with the state Department of Transportation and New Jersey Turnpike Authority. But their sudden appearance on major highways, with little notice or fanfare, has alarmed state residents.
“This makes me think that there’s an underlying thing going on that’s not public yet,” said Manalapan resident Laura Brunetti in an interview with local station News12. The timing of the appearance of the signs caused other residents to think the signs were related to the Sept. 11 terror attack anniversary, the outlet reported.
Fox News reports that an August 30 news release announced the installation of Variable Message Signs around the state “to remind drivers along the state’s major interstates to remain vigilant and report potential threats and suspicious activity related to terrorism or other criminal activity.”
“The goal of the campaign over the next few months is to remind residents and visitors, who may be traversing New Jersey’s highways for vacation, holiday shopping and other festivities, of the importance of being aware of their surroundings and of reporting suspicious activity,” said NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran. “The public is one of our first and best lines of defense in the fight against terrorism. Our ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative bolsters the State’s security efforts and plays a key role in helping to identify threats and to prevent attacks.”
The campaign will run from September through mid-February and include nearly 200 signs promoting NJOHSP’s suspicious activity reporting number across the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate Highways, the news release said.
The signs target drivers during the morning and afternoon rush hours seven days per week.
“Safety and security are everyone’s responsibility,” NJDOT Commissioner and NJ Turnpike Authority Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “Using Variable Message Signs on the New Jersey Turnpike and our Interstate Highways will help remind millions of motorists if they ‘See Something, Say Something’ when driving through our State.”
New Jersey is not alone in the new initiative. A national campaign under the same name was launched on September 25 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Officials remarked on the national “If You See Something, Say Something” Awareness Day, observed on Sept. 25.
“We are happy to support this important public information campaign by displaying the ‘See Something, Say Something’ message on the digital Variable Message Signs over the New Jersey Turnpike,” NJTA Executive Director James Carone said. “The nearly 700,000 drivers who use the Turnpike on an average day have an important role to play in protecting public safety. These signs encourage them to speak up if they see suspicious activity.”
The abrupt change in alerting citizens to keep eyes open to unusual activity is cause for reflection. Even after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the intended target of Flight 93 which went down in Pennsylvania that same day as heroes on the plane thwarted the hijackers plans, the U.S. government did not enlist the eyes of the American public in regard to ferreting out terrorists.
The campaign in New Jersey will run from September through mid-February, Insider NJ reports, and include nearly 200 Variable Message Signs promoting NJOHSP’s suspicious activity reporting number across the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate highways, including I-78, I-95, I-280, and Route 440.
NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran stated to the outlet, “The public is one of our first and best lines of defense in the fight against terrorism. Our ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative bolsters the State’s security efforts and plays a key role in helping to identify threats and to prevent attacks.”
It seems something has made the government forget cautioning against profiling and making judgements. What is the reason for these initiatives at this time? One looks at the ease in gaining access to U.S. during this administration.
Why are there so many statements being made about safety? Could it have something to do with the millions of illegal aliens crossing our southern border daily, and the fact that many of those illegal entrants are residing in New York, who declared itself a sanctuary for those individuals of unknown origin?
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