AUSTIN – In light of the attack in Las Vegas over the weekend and as part of national Crime Prevention Month (October), the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is calling on all Texans to remain vigilant regarding potential crime and terrorist activity in their communities, and to report suspicious behaviors to local authorities or the department’s iWATCH website at www.iwatchtx.org.
“In the wake of the cowardly attack in Las Vegas, we continue to keep everyone impacted by this tragedy in our thoughts and prayers,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We also want to remind the public of the potentially crucial role they play in helping law enforcement combat groups and lone-wolf actors intent on harming others. No matter where you are – alone or in a large group – always stay alert, and report any illegal or suspicious activity you witness to iWATCH or to your local authorities.”
The iWATCH program was created as a partnership between communities and law enforcement, and utilizes citizen-sourced tips related to criminal activity. Concerned citizens who observe suspicious activity can visit the iWATCH website – www.iwatchtx.org – to fill out a report. A report usually takes fewer than five minutes to complete, and once submitted, each report is reviewed by law enforcement analysts. To make an anonymous report, individuals can contact DPS at 1-844-643-2251. (iWATCH is not designed to report emergencies. If a situation requires an emergency response, call 911.)
Preparations for terrorist attacks may often be seen but rarely reported. When in doubt, speak up.
Here are some examples of behaviors and activities to report:
- 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 checkpoints.
Reports to iWATCH can also be made through the DPS Mobile App. The app is currently available for iPhone users on the Apple App Store: (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/texas-dps/id902092368?mt=8) and for Android users on Google Play: (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.microassist.texasdps&hl=en).