Identifying suspicious activity is not a difficult science.
To assist in recognizing and reporting suspicious activity, consider the following guidelines to help make an informed decision.
Who your neighbors are
What cars are normally in your neighborhood
Who regularly makes deliveries at work and in your neighborhood
A local activity that could indicate problems in your community. (One of the clues that led to the recent break-up of a terrorist plot was that several of the cell members were spotted celebrating in an apartment complex on the anniversary of 911.)
Previous activity or crimes.
Controversial issues being debated.
S - Size (Jot down the number of people, gender, ages, and physical descriptions)
L - Location (Provide exact location)
If you perceive an immediate threat to yourself or to public safety, please dial 911 immediately.
To report suspicious activity, please contact your local police department or FBI....
Maybe you are at a high profile location or perhaps a National Monument and you notice a person nearby taking several photos. That’s not unusual. But then you notice that the person is only taking photos of the locations of the surveillance cameras, entrance crash barriers and access control procedures. Is that normal for a tourist? No.
The following should cause a heightened sense of suspicion:
Suspicious or unusual interest
Surveillance (suspicious in nature)
Inappropriate photographs or videos
Drawing of diagrams
Using binoculars or night vision devices
Unusual or suspicious activity does not necessarily mean that terrorist activity is happening, but be aware of the following suspicious behaviors:
Individuals acting furtively and suspiciously
Individuals avoiding eye contact
Individuals departing quickly when seen or approached
Individuals in places they don’t belong
A strong odor coming from a building or vehicle
An overloaded vehicle
Fluid leaking from a vehicle, other than the engine or gas tank
Over dressed for the type of weather
Many of the 9/11 terrorists were in the country illegally and using fraudulent IDs. Altering or using false government identification in any way and for any purpose is against the law.
Fraudulent ID’s include:
Social security card
If you believe someone is using or has altered government identification, please notify the law enforcement authorities. Do NOT request to see another person’s ID when not appropriate. Allow law enforcement to do the investigating.
Terrorists, when not acting alone, need to meet with their conspirators and often times work within a cell. Pay attention to visitors and guests that:
Arrive and leave at unusual hours
Try not to be noticed
Act in a suspicious manner
Park an unusual distance from the meeting
Have an unusual number of unrelated people living together
Not all people who maintain privacy are terrorists. But people intent on doing illegal acts want to be left alone.
Some signs that may raise your suspicions:
They only let you into the apartment or house with plenty of prior notice
They change the locks often
They keep certain rooms off limits
They cover tables and other pieces of furniture
They never allow maid service in a hotel room
They only take hotel room service outside the door
They only accept deliveries at the hotel’s front desk or outside a closed door
Deliveries are a common method for terrorists to carry out their attacks. Be aware of:
A vehicle with hazardous material parked or driving in an inappropriate area
Unusual deliveries of chemicals or fertilizer
Unattended bags or boxes in a public access place
Fire extinguishers that may have been moved or tampered with
Unusual or unexpected mail
Terrorists need supplies to carry out their attacks and accomplish their goals.
Pay attention to purchases, rentals or thefts of:
Police, security, public utility, mail carrier, or airline uniforms and equipment
Vehicles able to contain or haul hazardous materials
Someone bragging or talking about plans to harm citizens in violent attacks or who claims membership in a terrorist organization that espouses killing innocent people.
Suspicious packages, luggage, or mail that have been abandoned in a crowded place like an office building, an airport, a school, or a shopping center.
Suspicious letter or package that arrives in your mailbox. (Stay away from the letter or package and don’t shake, bump or sniff it; wash hands thoroughly with soap and water.)
Someone suspiciously exiting a secured, non-public area near a train or bus depot, airport, tunnel, bridge, government building, or tourist attraction.
Any type of activity or circumstance that seems frightening, strange, unusual or out-of-place within the normal routines of your neighborhood, community, and workplace.
Someone unfamiliar loitering in a parking lot, government building, or around a school or playground.
Anyone asking a lot of questions—especially concerning routes or loads or drop-off times.
Recruiters should be alert for unusual employment applications. Don’t assume it couldn’t be an inside job.
A truck driver returning to his or her vehicle from a restaurant or truck stop should make sure no one is loitering around the truck. Watch out for walk-arounds.
Information provided in part by NationalTerrorAlert.com.
Office of Homeland Security Home Oklahoma.gov