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  • Maddie Cohen

When Should You Report Suspicious Activity?

Are you familiar with the saying: If you see something, say something?


The phrase is part of a national campaign that highlights the importance of reporting suspicious activity.


Ultimately, residents are responsible for observing and reporting suspicious behavior to law enforcement in their communities.


But what constitutes suspicious activity? This article will explore exactly that.


What Is “Suspicious” Activity?

Suspicious activity may involve observing a person:


  • Loitering in a residential area for a long period of time.

  • Making a transaction from a car door, window, or trunk.

  • Walking down the street gazing into the windows of parked cars and/or trying car door handles.

  • Trespassing onto someone’s property.

  • Ringing doorbells and walking away quickly.


By reporting suspicious activity, community members can help to prevent crime in their cities, towns, and neighborhoods. And when crime does occur, these reports can help the authorities apprehend criminals faster.


How to Report Suspicious Activity

If you think you see someone casing a home, you may feel like you’re paranoid. Perhaps you don’t want to call 911 if you aren’t sure whether the person you’re watching is actually committing a crime. This is where the police non-emergency number may come in.


A reminder that you are never bothering the police when you call to report suspicious activity. Here are some examples of situations that merit a 911 call:


  • In-progress criminal activity

  • Child endangerment

  • Drunk driving

  • Traffic collisions with potential injury


A simple Google search will also bring you to your local police department’s non-emergency phone number. (Be sure to save this number as a contact on your phone if you haven’t already.) Here are some of the situations that might benefit from a call to your police department’s non-emergency line:


  • An extremely noisy gathering

  • A crime with no suspect (e.g., bike theft)

  • Suspicious circumstances (e.g., a suspected drug lab)

  • Any other incident that does not require an emergency response


Be sure to share all the relevant information with the police. You’ll want to include the location of the incident, the details surrounding what you witnessed, and the number of suspects. In addition, aim to share what you remember about the suspects’ appearance, the make and model of their car(s) (along with any other defining features), and the direction they are headed.


Public safety resources are here for everyone to use. Don’t abuse them—you certainly want to avoid reporting an irritating neighbor for simply living their lives. However, know that reporting crime means you are simply doing your part as a community member.


Preventing Crime in Your Neighborhood

While there is no foolproof way to prevent crime from occurring in your neighborhood, you can help to reduce your risk. Be proactive by:


  • Closing your garage door

  • Suspending your mail delivery when you go out of town

  • Locking your vehicle

  • Securing your windows and doors


Installing a video doorbell can be quite beneficial as well.


Contact Umbrella Security Services Today

Do you have questions about your personal or business security?


Interested in learning more about the types of security services we offer?


Please contact us to schedule your free consult with Umbrella.

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