That slogan is owned by New York’s Metropolitan Transit Authority (the MTA).
Since obtaining the trademark in 2007, the authority has granted permission to use the phrase in public awareness campaigns to 54 organizations in the United States and overseas, like Amtrak, the Chicago Transit Authority, the emergency management office at Stony Brook University and three states in Australia.
Of course, you’re only supposed to say something if you see something you think is terrorism:
Some requests have been rejected, including one from a university that wanted to use it to address a series of dormitory burglaries.
“The intent of the slogan is to focus on terrorism activity, not crime, and we felt that use in other spheres would water down its effectiveness,” said Christopher Boylan, an M.T.A. spokesman.
Not that it’s very effective.
The campaign urges people to call a counter-terrorism hot line, 1-888-NYC-SAFE. Police officials said 16,191 calls were received last year, down from 27,127 in 2008.
That’s a lot of wasted manpower, dealing with all those calls.
Of course, the vendors in Times Square who saw the smoking Nissan Pathfinder two weeks ago didn’t call that number.
And, as I’ve written previously, “if you ask amateurs to act as front-line security personnel, you shouldn’t be surprised when you get amateur security.” People don’t need to be reminded to call the police; the slogan is nothing more than an invitation to report people who are different.
EDITED TO ADD (5/14): Nice article illustrating how ineffective the campaign is.