The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has established an internet based tip line to allow Texans to report suspicious behaviors that might lead to terrorism or other criminal activities. The move follows the attacks in Paris and the revelation by Breitbart Texas about Syrians who were caught crossing the Texas border with Mexico this week.
DPS Director Steve McCraw announced the creation of the iWATCH website. The website is intended to become a partnership between communities and law enforcement where citizen-sourced tips can be registered to help track or prevent possible criminal activity.
“In the wake of the terrible tragedies in Paris, we are reminding Texans of the important role they can play in helping law enforcement combat those intending to do harm to others,” said Director McCraw, in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “Texas faces the gamut of threats to public safety from organized crime to potential terroristic plots, and DPS works around-the-clock with our local, state and federal partners to keep our residents safe.”
“Because truly effective crime fighting depends on a united effort between law enforcement and the public,” the director continued, “we urge Texans to always be watchful, and report to iWATCH or their local authorities any illegal or suspicious activities they witness.”
Breitbart Texas asked DPS Press Secretary Tom Vinger about the Syrians who were discovered trying to cross the international bridge in Laredo earlier this week. Vinger responded, “DPS has a robust presence on the border, and we continue to work with our state, local and federal partners to combat drug and human smuggling into Texas. As DPS has consistently maintained, an unsecure border is a vulnerability that can be exploited by criminals of all kinds.”
The DPS lists the following as examples of things the public is encouraged 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.
The phone apps and website will help the ICT create a central clearinghouse for collecting data, management of information, and improving the analysis and dissemination of law enforcement and homeland security intelligence.
The intelligence strategy will bring together a variety of other programs that include:
- The multi-agency Texas Joint Crime Information Center, which provides around-the-clock analytical assistance to more than 1,500 local law enforcement agencies;
- 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;
- Critical Infrastructure and Key Resource Tracking and Assessment Program.
ICT also offers direct case support for Texas Rangers, and assistance in investigations involving cartel, gangs, human trafficking and sex offenders, the McCraw’s statement reveals.
“As always,” Vinger concluded, “anyone who observes suspicious activity is urged to contact their local authorities or report it through iWatch, www.iwatchtx.org.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and is a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.