“If you see something, say something”: This statement-turned slogan has been promoted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for years and has become a common-place saying in homes across the country.

This campaign reinforces the notion that it “takes a community to protect a community” and that attentive communities are key to keeping our nation safe.

While we rely on our local, state, and federal governments to provide for our security, at the end of the day, it is our own responsibility to protect ourselves and families. It’s important to notice details in everyday situations and to step up when something seems out of place.

Only you know what constitutes an everyday situation in your neighborhood. If you see something you know shouldn’t be there or someone’s behavior that seems suspicious, tell a local emergency response or law enforcement officer or call 911. Make sure to include the five W’s in your report: who, what, when, where and why.

Here are some examples:

  • Unusual items: oddly parked vehicles, unattended boxes or luggage
  • Unusual persons: extended loitering, intense questioning about a building, resident or neighborhood
  • Anything that appears out of the ordinary to you. In your community, you are the best judge

This campaign emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to our state and local law enforcement agencies, specifically activities indicative of imminent harm to residents or property.

I am an ardent supporter of this campaign and will work hard to increase its visibility in Connecticut. The next legislative session convenes in February, and I plan to pursue legislation that will implement safeguards for persons who report suspicious activity to protect them against backlash from peers and employers, yet still protect the innocent from false accusations.

I encourage the residents of Redding, Bethel, Danbury and Newton to take time to be attentive in abnormal situations. When the time for action arrives, I encourage you to answer the call.

For more information about the “See Something, Say Something” campaign, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/see-something-say-something.

State Rep. Dan Carter, a Republican from Bethel, represents Bethel, Danbury, Newtown and Redding.

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