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If you see something, say something

Updated June 19, 2014

The nationwide If You See Something, Say Something public awareness campaign has been around for several years and is considered a simple and effective program to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime. It emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities. The campaign also underscores the concept that homeland security begins with hometown security. A recent CNN report highlights just how important it is to call authorities when you observe something that you know just isn't quite right.

A woman living in Wacesa, Minnesota, observed a young man for about 10 minutes as he, in her words, fiddled with the lock on a storage locker located in the rear of her apartment building. He finally managed to slip inside the locker and shut the door behind him. She called the police and 10 minutes later the man was in custody and his disastrous plan thwarted. The investigation by Wacesa police revealed that the man had bomb-making materials in the locker and was planning to attack a local school. Gunpowder, pyrotechnic chemicals and a pressure cooker were removed from the locker. Police also found finished bombs, numerous weapons and ammunition in the man's residence.

The importance of If You See Something, Say Something was also demonstrated in the Kansas City area in April. Thanks to an alert resident, police were able to track down an armed motorist who had been shooting at other vehicles over a period of several weeks. The arrest was due largely to information phoned in by one woman who had observed another motorist driving erratically and in a threatening manner toward her. She was able to get a partial license plate number and called the police. The task force detectives that had been assembled to investigate the serial shootings took the information and were able to quickly identify and arrest the suspect.

These are just two examples of how important it is to alert local authorities to suspicious behavior. In Cerritos we have an additional reason to emphasize the importance of If You See Something, Say Something. We have the benefit of the Cerritos Sheriff's Station located in the center of the city and serving only our community. A dedicated group of deputies along with our own 24-hour emergency dispatch center results in Cerritos residents receiving the fastest emergency response times of any station in L.A. County. Few burglars and professional thieves get caught in the act in any city, but when a Cerritos resident observes someone acting suspiciously in their neighborhood and calls the Sheriff's Station, the quick response by deputies almost always results in an arrest. Remember, in emergencies always call 9-1-1, but if something doesn't look right (If You See Something, Say Something) call (562) 860-0044 and let a deputy check things out.

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