Are You More Likely Now to ‘Say Something’ When You ‘See Something’?
Waiting for her ride back to New Jersey at the Port Authority Bus Terminal, Jersey City resident Christine Foley plans to do without her iPod headphones for the time being.
She wants to be able to hear what's going on inside the terminal and be more aware of her surroundings. It's a concern she didn't have when leaving work on Friday, before bombs rocked Seaside Park and Manhattan and other undetonated devices were discovered.
"I definitely try to look around more and feel better that there are cops stationed throughout Port Authority," Foley said.
You've been hearing it for 15 years: If you see something, say something. But how alert have you really been?
Officials expect the public mindset to shift to "caution mode" given the latest developments in New Jersey and New York.
It was two homeless men who found multiple explosive devices in a trash can near the Midtown Elizabeth train station on Sunday. They alerted authorities and one bomb blew up as robots were sent in to diffuse them.
A night earlier, following an explosion in Chelsea that left 31 people injured, a nearby resident alerted New York authorities of a "pot on the side of the road" by her home, even though she thought it looked like a kid's science experiment. It turned out to be a second explosive device that was removed from the scene before it could detonate.
According to Capt. Stephen Jones of the New Jersey State Police, the department has relied for years on the extra eyes and ears of the public, but the number of bombs and potential bombs discovered since the weekend could increase reports of suspicious people and/or objects.
"That stuff is going to be reported with greater urgency than ever before and I think that's a great thing," Jones told Townsquare Media.
Jones said residents have not been complacent in reporting suspicious activity prior to Saturday morning's trash can explosion in Seaside Park, but the latest series of events will heighten their likelihood to "say something" when they "see something," such as an unattended package or a person acting strangely.
And for those concerned their report of suspicious activity will result in only wasted resources, just know the State Police are all for the "better safe than sorry" approach. Jones said most of the reports they receive turn out to be nothing, but no tipster should feel wrong or embarrassed.
"You never know when one tip is going to lead to the stopping of a major crime about to be committed," he said.
Suspicious activity in New Jersey can be reported to 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ.