You’ve probably walked through your neighborhood at night and seen something you thought looked odd, but you may have written it off as a one-time incident or something that was just in your head. Human intuition, however, is something we developed after years of living in survival mode, and it’s something you should listen to. Between you and your neighbors, you can prevent minor incidents of crime and dangerous activity from transforming your street into a dangerous place.
Not sure what qualifies as behavior strange enough to report? Take note of these 8 things to keep an eye out for, and never hesitate to call the police if your better judgement tells you to.
1. Bargain Street-Side Sales
Look out for anyone who sets up a table, opens the back of their van, or simply opens their jacket and offers items for sale at “remarkably” low prices. These individuals are usually selling stolen items. Not only can reporting them help the owners of that property recover their belongings, but it can also keep that type of theft from moving into your neighborhood permanently.
2. Someone Loitering in an Alley
If someone stands in your alley, mostly hiding between parked cars and only emerging every so often to approach passing vehicles, they are most likely selling drugs or other illegal product. They could also be the lookout for a burglary and should be reported.
3. Self-Reported Professionals Without IDs
Be aware of anyone who comes to your door claiming to work for the city, a plumbing company, a utility company or any type of service that needs to enter your home. If they do not have identification to prove they are who they say they are and do not pull up in a vehicle from that company, they could be burglars and should be reported.
4. Escalating Yelling
If you hear neighbors fighting, and their yelling seems to be getting louder and more aggressive, this could be a domestic dispute, and it may turn physically violent. If you believe that physical abuse is happening in a neighbor’s home, you can leave an anonymous report with the police next time the yelling begins.
5. Glass Breaking
There are few reasons someone’s home or car window would break besides burglary. If you hear glass breaking or any sign of someone using force to enter a car or apartment, call the police.
6. Security Inquiries
Be suspicious of anyone who is curious about the security of a building. Anyone asking whether or not a building requires a code to get in, whether or not there are surveillance cameras and whether or not security guards watch the place may be trying to break in. These individuals may claim that they are potential residents considering renting a unit in the building, but if that were the case, the landlord could answer their security questions during a walk through. Furthermore, if there are not any units up for rent in the building, then this behavior is certainly suspicious.
7. Activity Around Closed Businesses
Keep an eye out for strange activity around businesses after their hours of operation. If someone is walking around a business that is closed or someone parked a vehicle for a long time right by a closed business, they may be scoping it out for break-in.
8. Suspicious Smells
Any unusual chemical smells should be reported immediately. Unless your landlord notified you that work would be happening around the building that could cause these smells, then there may be a dangerous leak.
When it comes to reporting suspicious activity, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you see something on this list, call the police; leave addressing the situation up to them. Doing your part could help prevent a major crime and a buildup of crime in the long term.