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What am I looking for? See Something, Say Something

See Something, Say Something. Sure. Tell me again, what am I looking for?

"Report anything out the ordinary is simply not enough."

The phrase "see something, say something" has taken on a whole new meaning since the attempted Times Square Bombing plot was discovered by a NYC street vendor. The latest cover of this phrase is by our very own Department of Homeland Security.

The See Something, Say Something campaign  was developed by NYC Transit back in 2002 with the plan to get people to report "things". What things? Well, anything...out of the ordinary...an unattended backpack, an open can of sarin, or the powdered sugar in the bottom of the doughnut box.

The See Something, Say Something campaign had the potential for being a tremendous public awareness tool and a way to integrate the public as everyday forward observers.

The Department of Homeland Security paid $13 million on the See Something, Say Something campaign  out of a total $44 million spent since 2006 on preparedness efforts. Over fifty other locations outside of NYC have begun using the slogan, but it's not clear if they had to pay to do so.  NYC Transit secured the trademark for See Something, Say Something in 2007.

Problems. The campaign uses an 800 number rather than 9-1-1 for reporting. Thant builds in a level of delay and risk for poor communications to responders.

The biggest problem is that people simply don't know what they are looking for. "Report anything out the ordinary" is simply not enough information for people to take action on.  The result is failure for this See Something, Say Something campaign. Without an idea of what to look for, we'll get little if any useful information.

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