Drivers in New Jersey have been greeted with roadway signs that read, “Suspect Terrorism? See Something, Say Something,” with a tip line number to report threats.
These signs are part of a public safety campaign launched last month by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) in partnership with the state Department of Transportation and New Jersey Turnpike Authority. But their sudden appearance on major highways, with little notice or fanfare, has alarmed state residents.
“This makes me think that there’s an underlying thing going on that’s not public yet,” said Nanalapan resident Laura Brunetti in an interview with local station News12.
Other residents thought the signs were related to the Sept. 11 terror attack anniversary, the outlet reported.
An August 30 news release announced the installation of Variable Message Signs around the state “to remind drivers along the state’s major interstates to remain vigilant and report potential threats and suspicious activity related to terrorism or other criminal activity.”
“The goal of the campaign over the next few months is to remind residents and visitors, who may be traversing New Jersey’s highways for vacation, holiday shopping and other festivities, of the importance of being aware of their surroundings and of reporting suspicious activity,” said NJOHSP Director Laurie Doran. “The public is one of our first and best lines of defense in the fight against terrorism. Our ‘See Something, Say Something’ initiative bolsters the State’s security efforts and plays a key role in helping to identify threats and to prevent attacks.”
The campaign will run from September through mid-February and include nearly 200 signs promoting NJOHSP’s suspicious activity reporting number across the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate Highways, the news release said.
The signs target drivers during the morning and afternoon rush hours seven days per week.
“Safety and security are everyone’s responsibility,” NJDOT Commissioner and NJ Turnpike Authority Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said. “Using Variable Message Signs on the New Jersey Turnpike and our Interstate Highways will help remind millions of motorists if they ‘See Something, Say Something’ when driving through our State.”
Officials said the campaign coincides with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s national “If You See Something, Say Something” Awareness Day, observed on Sept. 25.
“We are happy to support this important public information campaign by displaying the ‘See Something, Say Something’ message on the digital Variable Message Signs over the New Jersey Turnpike,” NJTA Executive Director James Carone said. “The nearly 700,000 drivers who use the Turnpike on an average day have an important role to play in protecting public safety. These signs encourage them to speak up if they see suspicious activity.”