In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is now encouraging residents to report suspicious behaviors that might indicate criminal or terrorist activity to the department’s iWATCH website at www.iwatchTX.org.
The DPS website collects citizen-sourced information to help thwart illegal endeavors, including terrorist actions.
“DPS works with federal, state and local law enforcement to combat crime and terrorism within Texas and beyond. With the help of the public, we can be even more successful,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Residents can join our crime-fighting efforts – and possibly save lives – by remaining vigilant and promptly reporting any suspicious or criminal activities they might witness.”
Citizens can fill out reports on the website about a particular incident, usually in fewer than five minutes. Once submitted, each report is reviewed by law enforcement analysts.
Examples of the behaviors and activities that DPS is interested in include:
- Strangers asking questions about building security features and procedures.
- Briefcase, suitcase, backpack or package is left behind.
- Cars or trucks are left in no-parking zones at important buildings.
- Chemical smells or fumes that are unusual for the location.
- People requesting sensitive information, such as blueprints, security plans or VIP travel schedules, without a need to know.
- Purchasing supplies that could be used to make bombs or weapons, or purchasing uniforms without having the proper credentials.
- Taking photographs or videos of security features, such as cameras or check points.
Preparations for Terrorist Attacks Often Seen but Seldom Reported
DPS urges residents who see something unusual to simply speak up. Preparations for terrorist attacks are often seen, but rarely reported. When in doubt, report the suspicious activity through iWATCH. For more information on the iWATCH program or to submit a report, visit www.iwatchTX.org.
The iwatchTX.org website is part of the DPS Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division (ICT), which serves as the central clearinghouse for the collection, management, analysis and dissemination of law enforcement and homeland security intelligence in Texas.
Assisting 1500 Law Enforcement Agencies
The intelligence gathered assists more than 1,500 local law enforcement agencies including the Counterterrorism Analysis Program; State Intelligence Assessment Program; Texas 10 Most Wanted Fugitive and Sex Offender programs; Operation Drawbridge border camera program; Missing and Exploited Children Unit; Interdiction for the Protection of Children Program; Gang Analysis Section; and Critical Infrastructure and Key Resource Tracking and Assessment Program; Texas Rangers. The information also assists in investigations involving cartels, gangs, human trafficking and sex offenders.