Last month the Virginia State Police, Virginia Department of Emergency Management and National Capital Regions launched a new mobile application called “See Something, Send Something.” Virginia is the third state to put the application into use and should not be used as an alternative for 911 calls.
Peggy Fox of WUSA 9 in her report on Dec. 9 wrote this –
To use the free service it, first you need to download the app. You can either find it in the Apple App store or on the www.wsp.virginia.gov web page. Then, when you see something suspicious, take a picture of it. The App will ask you your name and phone number before you send the photo.
The App grew out the investigations of the 71 arsons along the Eastern Shore last year. Tips from the public finally came flowing in not from a traditional hotline number but a text box.
VSP Major Rick Jenkins, Deputy Director, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, says they realized that "young people today like to text" and that in order to get them to send tips, the VSP needed to give them a tool they could use on their phones. "Keeping the public engaged with us through the crime-solving, tip-sharing process has evolved and now so have we. This app is simply the 21st century version of the traditional telephone crime tip line or hotline," said Jenkins.
The new Governor of the Commonwealth, Terry McAuliffe, in his speech last night to Virginia’s General Assembly, did not talk about the topic of crime. Rather in one of his statements he said this: “We are all trying to grow our economy; improve our children’s’ schools; safeguard our environment; promote healthy families; and protect public safety.”
The mobile application should not be confused with the “See Something, Say Something” campaign program that started in New York under the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). That goal is “to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities.”
Those who use Virginia’s mobile application to deter crime should not get carried away with sending pictures to the police. This is a serious venture and should only be used when absolutely necessary.
Fredericksburg.patch.com in the below article presents a fact sheet from the Virginia State Police on questions citizens may want to know.