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MBTA launches Android version of free mobile 'See Say' app for reporting suspicious activity

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  July 17, 2012 04:07 PM

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(Google Play)

The MBTA this week launched the Android version of its free smartphone application allowing users to report suspicious activity by sending text and photos directly to Transit Police.

The “MBTA See Say” app became available Monday in the Android application store Google Play.

The application debuted on Apple’s mobile devices, including the iPhone, in May. The smartphone software is part of the T’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign, which was launched in 2003 in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.

The app allows Boston’s public transit riders to send pictures, text messages and locations of suspicious activity to Transit Police. Tips can also be sent anonymously.

The T recently lifted all of its rules prohibiting photos from being taken on property the agency owns, except for in areas where access to the public is restricted.

From the home screen of the application, users can chose two options.

The “Call Transit Police” button connects customers directly to Transit Police. The “Report a Problem” button allows riders to send text or photos directly to Transit Police.

To aid with discretion, the mobile device’s camera flash is automatically disabled when photos are taken through the app. When reporting an issue, riders can select station locations and report categories to assist police.

Dispatchers who receive the reports can respond with questions.

Reports sent from areas without cellular connectivity will be stored and sent when signal returns. The system is also designed to first send text information, which can generally be sent quicker than larger files like pictures, so that Transit Police are alerted as quickly as possible.

The app may also display “BOLO” or “Be On the Look Out” alerts, which are used in situations such as when a person is reported missing.

Riders can sign up to receive MBTA T-Alerts through the app to be notified of service delays and disruptions.

Funding for the app and campaign were provided by the Department of Homeland Security’s Transit Security Grant Program, the Globe has reported.

The app was developed by Elerts Corporation, which specializes in emergency notification and response systems through mobile networks, smartphones, and social media.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at mjrochele@gmail.com.
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