NEW YORK CITY — See something, send something.
That's the name of a new app released by Governor Andrew Cuomo's office on Monday, which lets New Yorkers snap photos of suspicious activities and report them directly to the New York State Intelligence Center, which reviews the submissions and forwards relevant tips to law enforcement agencies.
"People would use this app to report any suspicious behavior and situations that are out of the normal routine," said Beau Duffy of the New York State Police public information office.
"This could include an unattended backpack or briefcase in a public place, a vehicle that's parked in an unusual location, or someone who is showing an unusual interest in a building or other facility."
Law enforcement agencies can access users' phone numbers and names, and may contact tipsters in some cases, Duffy said.
Tips submitted via the app — whether a photograph or a note — are also geo-tagged, Duffy said. This means that officials reviewing tips can pinpoint the location where a tip was submitted via metadata associated which each tip.
The app does not replace 911 and should not be used to report an emergency, Cuomo's office noted in a press release.
App users should also refrain from reporting "beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to terrorism or other criminal activity," according to the release.
With the launch of the new app, Cuomo's office put out an informational video which shows a re-enactment of a test conducted by the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.
The test aimed to see how long it would take before someone reported an open truck full of explosive materials parked on a public street. The DHSES claims it took four days before someone noticed the explosives:
To help users figure out what activities should be reported using the new app, DHSES distributed a pamphlet titled "Safeguard New York."
Among the activities described in the pamphlet as "suspicious" are "individuals recording, watching, or unusually photographing or monitoring activities."