Be On Alert To ‘See Something, Say Something’ About Suspicious Activity

There are constant daily reminders of the unsettling world we live in. Recent terrorist attacks in Orlando and San Bernardino only increased an already heightened awareness of threats.

Going about our daily business as usual is paramount, but so is being on alert. If you notice suspicious behavior or activities, don’t hesitate to report it.

The “If You See Something, Say Something™” national campaign wants you to do exactly that by raising public awareness of the indicators of terrorism and terrorism-related crime, as well as the importance of reporting suspicious activity to state and local law enforcement. Informed, alert communities play a critical role in keeping California safe.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is also committed to strengthening hometown security by creating partnerships with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments and the private sector, as well as the communities they serve.

Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
  • Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
  • Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.
  • 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.

Suspicious behavior or activity should be reported to local law enforcement. If doing so, make sure to describe specifically who or what you saw, when you saw it, where it occurred and why it’s suspicious.

If there is an emergency, call 9-1-1.


Additional resources:


Cal OES Law Enforcement

See Something Say Something in California

Joint Terrorism Task Forces



Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the 2017 October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) wildfires, the Camp Fire in 2018, the 2020 statewide fire siege, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

One thought on “Be On Alert To ‘See Something, Say Something’ About Suspicious Activity

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: