What is Suspicious Activity?
Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. This includes, but is not limited to:
- • Abandoned bags, suitcases or packages in busy locations or public events.
- • Someone wearing heavy clothing or a coat not appropriate with the temperature.
- • Rants about retaliation on social media posts.
- • Threats in schools, workplaces and events.
- • Unusual activities by unknown people in the neighborhood, like someone attempting to conceal themselves by standing in the shadows or to the side of buildings.
- • Inquiries by unknown individuals about business or event entrance/exit locations, peak hours, shift changes, hours of operation.
- • Photography or discreet use of cameras or video equipment, sketching, monitoring or note taking at a business, transportation hub, venue or its operations.
- • Evidence of unauthorized access to secured locations (cut padlocks, open doors, gates or windows).
- • Abandoned vehicles parked near electrical substations, radio towers, busy public crosswalks or gatherings.
- • Newly placed or modified receptacles such as mailboxes, trash cans and dumpsters that could be used to conceal a bomb.
Some of these activities could be innocent—it's up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation. The activities above are not all-inclusive, but have been compiled based on studies of pre-operational aspects of both successful and thwarted terrorist events over several years.
How to Report Suspicious Activity
Public safety is everyone's responsibility. If you see suspicious activity, report it to local law enforcement or a person of authority.
Describe specifically what you observed, including:
- •Who or what you saw;
- •When you saw it;
- •Where it occurred; and
- •Why it's suspicious.
Protecting Citizens' Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
The "If You See Something, Say Something®" campaign respects citizens' privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties by emphasizing behavior, rather than appearance, in identifying suspicious activity.
Factors such as race, ethnicity, and/or religious affiliation are not suspicious. The public should only report suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or package, or someone breaking into a restricted area). Only reports that document behavior that is reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners.