DHS findings: People are insufficiently suspicious of their neighbors! Fear levels too low! Alert!

Privacy SOS

How can you be a better snitch patriot? How can DHS make you feel more comfortable calling, texting, tweeting, facebooking, emailing, or mobile app-ing your concerns about the people around you to the police or the feds? Why don’t you feel comfortable doing this now? Why aren’t you more afraid?

DHS wants to know.

Ok, so those weren’t exactly the questions DHS had a private research firm ask US residents during in person focus group and telephone polling sessions, but they are close. Here’s an actual question:

“What would make the reporting of suspicious activity easier for you and your neighbors?”

Part of the problem, as DHS saw it, was that people weren’t reporting on each other enough. It’s not only a “quality” problem, but a “quantity” problem that needs fixing, it says. So naturally, it did focus groups. And polling. (At cost to taxpayers? I don’t know; couldn’t find out.)

So how’d we do when put to the FEAR TEST, us US residents? Not bad, actually. US persons come away from the focus groups and polling looking like pretty stand up people.

When DHS’ private contractor ICF Macro laid out a bunch of scenarios for people and asked if they would report “suspicious” activity to the police in those situations, forty-three percent of the people who demurred said that they would hesitate out of “concern you may get an innocent person in trouble.” Kudos, USA! That’s some great independent thinking and love of neighbor, not to mention clear evidence that the government’s sustained fear campaigns have not had the intended effect of sufficiently frightening us into submission or fear of one another. There is hope yet!

Though disturbingly, some of the fear-mongering over the past ten years must have rubbed off on young people more effectively than our older compatriots: while 54% of people aged 65+ said they didn’t want to rat on people for fear that they would harm an innocent person, only 41% of 18-34 year olds said the same. Older respondents also reported being more uncomfortable judging people than the younger participants.

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