It wasn’t anything that unusual, but it was out of the ordinary. There was a vehicle parked for no apparent reason, and there was an unusual amount of pedestrian traffic coming and going nearby, even at odd hours. Others might have blown it off as nothing. Most people probably wouldn’t have even noticed the activity at all.
But for one citizen, it seemed strange enough to be concerning, especially since it was so close to the Boys and Girls Club. They sent in a tip. A detective responded. Not only were drugs and a gun both found, but the one of the people in question turned out to have been convicted of trafficking cocaine in 2011.
Thanks to one concerned individual, there are now two fewer drug dealer on the streets in South Florida. The Davie police department tweeted their appreciation: “Does Crimestoppers really work? … Drugs and a gun off of the streets....... we like that!”
“If you see something, say something.”
This six-word phrase was the brainchild of an advertising executive named Allen Kay, who was moved after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to create a slogan for the Metropolitan Transportation Agency of New York that would encourage everyday people to seize whatever opportunity they had to prevent another attack from occurring.
Since then, the phrase has spread far beyond the boundaries of New York, and is recognized globally as a call to engagement. Public safety is everyone’s responsibility, it reminds us. Don’t be a bystander to violence.
The power of anonymous tips.
In San Diego, California, the sheriff’s department instituted an anonymous tip hotline specifically for students in 1999. Called “Students Speaking Out,” the hotline has been credited with stopping over 400 crimes since its inception. Of those 400, twelve involved students with guns who planned to use them at school. That’s a dozen school shootings nobody has ever heard about on the news because they never happened.
Of course, tips must be handled correctly if they are to be an effective tool for preventing violence. The Parkland shooting is a horrific example of this. In this case, the officials failed to investigate a tip that a school shooting was being planned. With 17 Floridians dead and a community devastated, there is now an investigation into what went wrong and how it can be avoided in the future.
While this was a failure on the part of those agencies tasked with investigating threats to public safety, it also illustrates how critical a role anonymous tips play in preventing terrorism and violent crime. Nobody is an expert on your school or your community like the people who are there every day. Without your voice and the voices of the people around you, those responsible for enforcing the law don’t know where to turn, and tragedy often results.
Torch puts the power in your hands.
We all see things that seem out of place at times, whether it’s while driving down the road, walking to class, or while chatting online. So often we think “Huh, I wonder if I should tell somebody about that?” and then do nothing. After all, how do we know whether it’s important? And who should we tell? And how?
Torch takes care of all those details, making sure that the information you provide gets into the hands of the right people at the right time. In our smartphone-oriented world, it puts the ability to report unusual activity right at your fingertips. If you’re interested in harnessing the power of community insights to make Miami a safer place, you’re in the right place.
Download Torch Tips from the App Store or Google Play store today and do your part for See Something, Say Something.