AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding Texans to stay vigilant and report any suspicious behavior or activity they observe to law enforcement. With today’s threat environment, advanced warning and information can mean the difference between life and death. Texans are urged to report suspicious activity to their local law enforcement or through the iWatchTexas program, a system that captures and connects potential criminal, terroristic or school safety-related threats in Texas.
“We urge Texans to always pay attention to their surroundings and use the iWatchTexas program to report anything unusual they might see,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “This suspicious reporting system has already proven successful in leading to law enforcement action that very likely prevented criminal activity. We are committed to deterring and, when possible, preventing mass casualty attacks from taking place in our state. The public’s vigilance and tips could very well be the key to helping law enforcement prevent the next attack.”
Included in the governor’s executive orders following the mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa is Order No. 4 — to increase the public’s awareness of the value of suspicious activity reporting.
The iWatchTexas mobile app is designed to make it quick and easy for the public to report suspicious activity in Texas, including criminal, terroristic or school safety-related threats. All reports are confidential, but there’s the option to provide contact information so officials can follow up with any additional questions. Reports should take less than five minutes to complete. The iWatchTexas app is free and available on iTunes and Google Play. The public can also submit a report at www.iwatchtx.org or by calling 1-844-643-2251. If there is an emergency, call 911 immediately.
Things that could be reported via iWatchTexas include:
- Written or verbal comments or implied threats of violence through words, images or other expressions;
- Praising past successful or attempted mass casualty, active shooter or school attacks;
- Statements or images indicating ideology connected to acts of violence;
- Preparing and/or sharing a martyrdom or last will video or statement;
- Strangers asking questions about building security and procedures or taking photos or video of these security features;
- A briefcase, package or other item that’s been left behind where it shouldn’t be;
- Vehicles left in no-parking zones;
- Chemical smells or fumes that are unusual for an area;
- People requesting sensitive information, such as security plans, blueprints or a person’s travel schedule when they shouldn’t have it;
- Purchasing supplies that could be used to make a bomb or weapons; or
- Purchasing uniforms without the proper credentials.
If you see something, say something. It’s far better to report something and be wrong than to stay silent and wish you had spoken up when your instincts told you something was suspicious.
For additional details on how to download or use the iWatchTexas app, view this video.