AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) encourages residents to report suspicious behaviors that might indicate criminal or terrorist activity to the department’s iWATCH website at www.iwatchtx.org. Created as a partnership between communities and law enforcement, iWATCH is a DPS website where citizen-sourced information is collected in an effort to help thwart illegal and terroristic endeavors.
“DPS works with federal, state and local law enforcement entities every day to combat crime and terrorism within Texas and beyond. With the help of the public, we can be even more successful in this pursuit,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Residents can join our crime-fighting efforts – and possibly save lives – by remaining vigilant and promptly reporting to iWATCH any suspicious or criminal activities they might witness.”
Concerned citizens can visit the website to fill out a report, which includes contact information and specifics about a particular incident. A report usually takes fewer than five minutes to complete, and once submitted, each report is reviewed by law enforcement analysts.
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 check points.
DPS urges residents who see something unusual to simply speak up. Preparations for terrorist attacks are often seen, but rarely reported. When in doubt, report the suspicious activity through iWATCH. For more information on the iWATCH program or to submit a report, visit www.iwatchtx.org.
The iWATCH website is part of the DPS Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division (ICT), which serves as the central clearinghouse for the collection, management, analysis and dissemination of law enforcement and homeland security intelligence in Texas. This DPS intelligence strategy is essential to proactive, preventive and effective law enforcement operations to combat crime and terrorism.
The intelligence strategy encompasses a variety of other programs, including the multi-agency Texas Fusion 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; and 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.
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