In the beginning, the Patriot Act was created to allow the government to seek out terrorist activity home and abroad. Under the Bush administration, this expanded to include wiretapping and and other investigative programs that did not require a court order, search warrant, or other 4th amendment protections.
Now the expansion has moved into neighbor spying upon neighbor, and for that service to the Federal and State governments, local municipalities have begun to offer cash payments to citizens who report on activities that go beyond the scope of terrorism. In a report made on January 8th by Alt Market, the city of Newark, New Jersey is now offering citizens up to $1000 to report not just on illegal activity, but simply if someone is seen carrying a gun.
“We as individuals have to do something about it. So we have a program in our city right now that is completely anonymous and we will give you cash. $1000 to anyone who calls out anonymous tip-line. Give us the information about who is carrying a gun… and we don’t even have to have a conviction. If we arrest that individual and simply get that gun off the streets. – Newark Mayor Cory Booker
(See video to the left of this article for the new program on payments offered to report on anyone carrying a gun in Newark, New Jersey)
This new program by the city of Newark has grown out of the original ‘See something, say something’ program that was insituted by the Department of Homeland Security in 2011, and the Empowering Local Communities program instituted by the Obama administration. These programs both seek the advocation of everyday citizens with multiple perspectives, looking at their fellow Americans and making split second decisions on whether their behavior is normal, or threat based. Additionaly, the new gun program being offered in Newark makes the assumption that anyone carrying a gun is committing a crime, or is on the way to committing one.
There has been a complete pardigm shift in the way the government is dealing with the ideological ‘war on terror’, and it has shifted from monitoring foreign terror groups here and abroad, to now resourcing local and municipal agencies for investigating citizens for non-terror events and crimes. Newark, New Jersey is not the first to use Federal legislation on terrorism to attempt to fight crime in its boundaries, but it has become one of the more open cities to offer money as a means to create a spy network amongst its citizens in reporting anyone seen or known to carry a gun.