New Jersey Transit commuters have brought 307 tips to the “Text Against Terror” agency since its startup in 2011 – ranging from some that warrant further investigation to travelers testing the system, according to an article from Asbury Park Press.
The $5.8 million federally funded program has produced 71 tips referring “to something regarding homeland security,” says Christopher Trucillo, chief of NJ Transit Police, in the article.
“Someone saw something that made them uncomfortable that required us to take secondary action, like an unattended bag or someone taking pictures in a particular area,” Trucillo says. “In a rare instance, we need to follow them up and refer (the tip) to the (state) Joint Terrorism Task Force,” he adds in the article.
The Department of Homeland Security public awareness grant paid for advertising time on radio and television, printing wallet cards, fliers and bus and train ads, as well as reserving the NJTPD domain for text messages, APP reports.
Recurring costs to reserve that domain and for unlimited texting capability are $13,400, Trucillo says. The commercials were produced by NJ Transit’s marketing department, he adds in the article.
Text messages have ranged from riders reporting suspicious activity to some seeking customer service assistance or others who inadvertently sent a message while putting the number in their phone, the article says. All calls are answered at a NJ Transit Police communication center, and all customers receive a tip back from NJ Transit Police when the text is received.