If You See Something Say Something

What is a “Suspicious activity?”

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

• Unusual or unique items or situations: A car that is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage that is unattended, a window/door that is open when it is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations.

• 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.SeeSay IndicatorInfographic


Recognize the signs of terrorism-related suspicious activity | Protect your every day

As Terrorist tactics continue to evolve, and we must keep pace. Terrorist operations usually begin with extensive planning. You can help prevent and detect terrorism — and other types of crime — by watching out for suspicious activities and reporting them to the proper authorities. Be alert for the seven signs of terrorism!


7 Signs of Terrorism

    • Surveillance:
      Someone recording or monitoring activities. This may include the use of cameras, note taking, drawing diagrams, annotating on maps, or using binoculars or other vision-enhancing devices.

    • Elicitation:
      People or organizations attempting to gain information about military operations, capabilities, or people. Elicitation attempts may be made by mail, email, telephone, or in person. This could also include eavesdropping or friendly conversation.

    • Tests of Security:
      Any attempts to measure reaction times to security breaches, attempts to penetrate physical security barriers, or monitor procedures in order to assess strengths and weaknesses.

    • Acquiring Supplies:
      Purchasing or stealing explosives, weapons, ammunition, etc. This also includes acquiring military uniforms, decals, flight manuals, passes or badges (or the equipment to manufacture such items) and any other controlled items.

    • Suspicious Persons:
      Someone who does not appear to belong in a workplace, neighborhood or business establishment due to their behavior, including unusual questions or statements they make.

    • Dry Runs/Trial Runs:
      Putting people in position and moving them around according to their plan without actually committing the terrorist act. An element of this activity could also include mapping out routes and determining the timing of traffic lights and flow.

Deploying Assets:
People and supplies getting into position to commit the act. This is the person’s last chance to alert authorities before the terrorist act occurs.


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.

Report a Threat to The Somerville Police Department: Dial 9-1-1

Additional resources: