Spotting suspicious activity

Spotting suspicious activity
Posted on 04/27/2021

Suspicious activity can refer to any incident, event, individual or activity that seems unusual or out of place. While not always illegal, suspicious activity could indicate that someone is about to commit a crime or has just committed a crime.

Active participation on the part of neighbors enhances the effectiveness of police efforts. But often people don’t call the police because they’re not aware of activities that might be suspicious. Others may notice suspicious activity and hesitate to call for fear of being a “nosy neighbor.” Others take it for granted that someone else has already called.

Always report suspicious activity and all crimes, because police may not know there is a problem unless they are told. Notifying the police allows them to further investigate the situation to determine if criminal activity is involved.

By reporting these types of activities and situations, citizens can make their communities safer and more secure, reduce violence, minimize victimization, reduce crime and improve the overall quality of life.

Common examples of suspicious activity

  • A stranger loitering in your neighborhood or a vehicle cruising the streets repeatedly.
  • Someone peering into cars or windows.
  • A high volume of traffic going to and from a home on a daily basis.
  • Someone loitering around schools, parks or secluded areas.
  • Open or broken doors and windows at an unoccupied residence.
  • Someone tampering with electrical, gas or sewer systems without an identifiable company vehicle or uniform.
  • Persons arriving at or leaving homes at unusual hours.
  • Multiple people who appear to be working in unison and exhibiting suspicious behaviors.

Report, but don’t intervene

Community members should only serve as the extra eyes and ears of law enforcement. While you should report observations of suspicious activity to law enforcement, never try to take action on those observations. Trained law enforcement should be the only ones ever to take action based on suspicious activity.

Published April 27, 2021