“The concept is simple,” Napolitano said. “If you are on a train, or standing on a platform, on in a station or public place and you see something that doesn’t look right, or out of place, like an unattended package or bag, or an individual acting in a suspicious manner, report it to law enforcement.”
BTC – “If you see something, say something…” Here’s what I’ve been seeing lately.
After relocating the to the Bay Area I’ve noticed a lot more surveillance cameras in public transit areas and speaker messages which promote suspicious activity reporting. It’s not at every station – just on BART, when you exit Millbrae to Caltrain. If you board the San Jose DASH from the train a recorded announcement will ask you to “report any unattended packages” to the driver. I recall one Spring afternoon day, up to five police personnel manning entryways on an inbound train to San Francisco. There wasn’t any posting or announcements on the train to explain this extra presence to passengers.
On Friday afternoon there was a sobriety checkpoint where police stopped to ask for licenses in my suburban, one stoplight area coming from the freeway. I asked my friend to stop and let me out before the cones. A police officer then openly insulted me for getting out and walking to the sidewalk. I wasn’t volunteering up for a random identity surveillance measure or for the engagement snare.
A single mother of two said starkly at a Starbucks after I handed her a postcard, “It’s becoming a police state!”
The US is incorporating a public surveillance practice used in the UK which may dump random things you do into a terrorism watch fusion center. Suspicious Activity reports or SARs are handled as “national security” domestic intelligence run by local law enforcement. It’s not based on actual crime or reasonable suspicion. It’s based on “reasonable indication” of a crime. What does that mean? Well if someone indicates to law enforcement that you may be a criminal, you get a history in a terror watch database.
In the 80’s we used to deride the USSR for abusing suspicious activity reporting practices because it was how “the commies” used threat of intimidation on their people and how neighbors exercised vengance on those they didn’t like. We used to think “wow, I’m glad it’s not like that over here.”
Well, it’s my unfortunate duty to report modern America is operating just like fallen communist Russia.