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MBTA releases transit security app

Posted on May 22, 2012

The new See Say smartphone app allows riders to instantly report suspicious activity to Transit Police.
The new See Say smartphone app allows riders to instantly report suspicious activity to Transit Police.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Transit Police Department announced the release of a new smartphone app that will allow riders to instantly report suspicious activity to Transit Police. In just a few clicks, the "See Say" iPhone app lets riders share pictures, text and incident location details.

“Transit Police are always looking for new tools to empower riders and keep the system safe,” said MBTA Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan. “With this new app, we continue to empower riders to be our eyes and ears in the system.”

The related “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign is funded by a grant from the Department of Homeland Security’s Transit Security grant program. It promotes a collaborative effort of state and local agencies working together educating the public to be more aware of their surroundings, and report any behavior that may appear suspicious to the proper transportation and law enforcement authorities. The MBTA originally adopted the campaign in 2003, based upon a campaign implemented by New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority.

The MBTA is the first transit system in the U.S. to launch a smart phone application as part of the “If you see something, say something” efforts. This new app allows MBTA riders to proactively communicate with transit authorities and also to receive alerts from authorities in emergency situations. In addition, the See Say app:

  • Is designed for transit and other environments with limited cell service, sending reports immediately once riders have signal.
  • Is discrete - riders may choose to send reports anonymously and a rider’s smartphone flash is automatically turned off when taking a photo of something suspicious.
  • Routes reports to a web console at the Transit Police dispatch center, where a dispatcher then manages reports from riders.
  • Allows 2-way communication so riders can receive and comment back on alerts from Transit Police (eg. “I see the missing person”) and for the transit dispatcher to ask a rider for more detail regarding a specific report from a rider.
  • Alerts riders when there is a delay or service issue via built in T-Alerts.

The application was developed through a partnership between the MBTA and ELERTS, creators of an industry-first personal safety social network for emergency notification. ELERTS is creating better emergency response systems by embracing high-speed mobile networks, smartphone technology and social media.

The See Say application can be downloaded for free from from MBTA.com or the iTunes app store.

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