As of today, well-meaning New Yorkers who see a Sikh riding the subway or smell something weird in Times Square can submit their paranoid fantasias to the proper authorities with an app. Your new mantra: If you see something, send something.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the app’s New York release in a press release this afternoon, touting its capacity to help the state’s residents report suspicious activity. You take a picture, add a note about what’s freaking you out (and a GPS location if your paranoia includes subway bombers but not government spies), and voila, your tip is sent to the New York State Intelligence Center, which will forward it to the proper agency. The technology is already in use in Colorado, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, Albany’s News 10 reports.
“See something send something” is free on the app store, and it’s easy to use, if a little trigger-happy: I just took a photo of two coworkers to test its functionality, but because the app doesn’t ask you to confirm any details before sending, I accidentally submitted it for real. Oops! I will report back if my colleagues or I are arrested.
The app, of course, stems from the phrase “see something, say something,” which has been part of NYC’s cultural landscape since 9/11, when the MTA began placing it on subway posters in hopes of soliciting tips that would lead to terrorist threats. Seven years later, the New York Times reported that no terror plots had been stopped after calls to the hotline, but many people used it to submit bogus threats, tips about praying muslims, and non-information like mine. Some arrests were made based on tips in the years before the Times article, but they were for things like selling fake IDs, illegal fireworks, and possession of unlicensed guns—not plots against the city.