It was any given Tuesday afternoon at Lumina.
And then the S4 alert came.
(S4 is a mobile app that allows people to report concerning behaviors in real time. It’s short for See Something, Say Something).
The first alert: Tuesday Afternoon
This alert was from a high school student.
The student expressed concern that a best friend was at risk for suicide.
It turns out that the two students had recently lost another close friend to suicide. Since that time, the friend at risk had been distant and negative, and showed other warning signs, which you can read more about from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The student who sent the S4 alert wanted to make sure the best friend got help before it was too late.
Not surprisingly, the student wished to remain anonymous. But the student shared the school information and the name of the friend. Our S4 app also validated the location from which the alert was sent.
80% of those considering suicide give some sign of their intentions
This report was a serious concern. Statistics show that 80% of those considering suicide give some sign of their intentions, and often those signs are communicated to the people closest to them.
We acted immediately, calling the school and sharing the information with the administration, who confirmed the recent suicide and thanked us for the report.
A person in time of crisis would get the help they need.
The second alert: Wednesday late morning
Just 20 hours later, we received another S4 alert.
This one was different.
The person reporting the concern had innocently moved a postal package for a neighbor. Then, the person noticed that the package had a marking indicating that it was from a company that sells bulletproof armor.
What to do with this information? Buying armor isn’t illegal. But, why was this neighbor concerned? Was there something else to the report?
More than 75% of the attackers in mass violence events exhibit concerning behaviors
According to the U.S. Secret Service’s analysis of Mass Attacks in Public Spaces last year, 78% of the attackers in mass violence events exhibited behaviors that caused concern in others.
We decided to do more research.
We ran the name of the subject the package was delivered to through our Radiance Open Source platform, OS-INT.
Through a search of all the open source data on the Internet, OS-INT found publicly available social media images of the subject holding an IED, raising concerns that perhaps there was more to investigate.
We sent the S4 report, and the findings from OS-INT to the authorities, so they could determine appropriate next steps.
The third report: Wednesday afternoon
While we were working the bulletproof armor S4, another alert came in.
Again, it was a report concerning potential mass violence.
But this time, it was at a school.
The report indicated that a student had discussed bringing a gun to school the next day. The report included the student’s name, and the school that he attended.
93% of the attackers in mass violence events made threatening or concerning communications
The same Secret Service report we mentioned previously, tells us that of the mass attacks in 2018, 93% of attackers made threatening or concerning communications prior to the act.
That is why – like the bulletproof armor S4 report – we ran the student’s name through Radiance OS-INT.
Radiance quickly sent us a link to a publicly available YouTube channel where a person with the same name as the student shows himself executing a shooting rampage in a video game. We thought this was important additional information to share with the local authorities.
Within minutes, we called the police, and learned they had received another tip surrounding the same student and were following up on the reports.
The power of S4
When we launched our S4 app, we knew the value it would bring to our clients as they work to keep their school and corporate campuses safe.
But we also understood the potential power it had for the broader public.
We knew we had to make the app available to others. And it had to be free of charge.
Since making our app available, we have had thousands of downloads and hundreds of reports.
The truth is, we never like it when those reports come in. The thought that someone might want to do harm to themselves, or to others, keeps us up at night.
Be the light in your community
But, we know See Something, Say Something works. And we’re committed to using our technology to help make a difference.
We encourage you to do the same.
And, if you are in a suicide crisis, or know someone who is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255.