From a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain: This piece was posted earlier this week on the North East Area Command web site from a North East Area Command Neighborhood Watch Block Captain. I wanted to share it with the Foothills Area Command readers because it comes from a citizen viewpoint and from one who is serving the community as a Block Captain through the APD Crime Prevention’s Neighborhood Watch program. Take what you need, what applies to you and your block and share with neighbors as you see fit.
RECOGNIZING SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITIES: What is suspicious and when do you call the police?
Suspicious activity is anything that looks like it could be connected with criminal behavior – someone casing a neighborhood, forcing open a door, grabbing a child; screaming or pounding coming from a nearby residence or apartment; of strong chemical odors coming from an inappropriate building, are but a handful of examples. If the activity is or appears to be threatening to property or people, immediately report the suspicious activity by calling 9 – 1 – 1. Time is critical in apprehending criminals. It is better to be overly suspicious than to let a criminal get away.
Following is a list of suspicious activities and the criminal activity that might be happening:
A person, persons, groups of your people, adult(s) or gang(s):gathering (loitering) for an extended or unusual period of time: Possible burglary, arson or drug dealing.
Behaving strangely: Possibly on drugs or preparing to do some illegal activity
With any sort of weapon: Possibly planning any number of crimes.
Carrying, concealing or transporting anything unusual: Possibly burglar carrying stolen property.
Looking into cars: Possibly casing cars for theft of car or its contents.
Wearing clothing,bandanas, caps, or other attire that could spell trouble: Possible gang activity.
Selling or conducting business on a street corner, park or other place where business is not licensed. Running, especially if carrying something of value: Possible suspect fleeing scene of crime.
Running, especially at night,for no apparent reason: Possible suspect fleeing scene of crime.
Creating any type of disturbance: Disturbing the Peace or covering up noise of some other activity
Going door to door, especially if someone goes to the rear of the residence: Possibly casing the neighborhood.
Loiters around schools, parks or on your street: Possible burglar, sex offense, drugs or arson.
Create much foot traffic to and from a particular place, short visits: Possible drugs, vice or fencing operation.
Screams for help: Possible rape, medical emergency, robbery, assault or fire.
Offering items for sale at extremely low prices: Possibly trying to sell stolen property.
An older man with young females or teenagers in an unusual place or for an unusual period of time: Possible sex crimes of seeking or pimping (soliciting customers) for the youngsters. The list is endless: Anyone doing anything that looks suspicious should be reported.
Trust your instincts. Call immediately! Don’t Hesitate
An occupied vehicle parked for a long period of time: Possibly casing the neighborhood.
A vehicle driving around your neighborhood repeatedly, short visits: Possibly casing the neighborhood, operating as a point for drug dealing, a sexual deviate or child molester
waiting for their target, being a getaway car.
Vehicle being loaded with valuables if parked by closed business or unoccupied house: Possible burglary in progress.
A parked car with the engine running: Possible get-away car for burglary.
Departing from a location at night with its lights off: Possible burglar, assault violation or robber.
Driving in a reckless manner or committing other serious traffic violations. Problems driving their vehicle,especially if it is an expensive model: Possible stolen vehicle.
The vehicle is in unusually bad condition, with signs of a recent accident, broken windows or bullet holes in the car: Possibly involved in drive-by shooting or a hit and run accident.
Business is being conducted out of the vehicle: Possibly selling stolen items or drugs.
An over-loaded vehicle that is heavily weighed down,parked, or traveling in your neighborhood: Possible burglar.
Persons detaching mechanical parts or accessories from vehicle: Possible theft or vandalism in progress.
Abandoned vehicle parked on block: Possible stolen vehicle.
Someone being forced into a vehicle: Possible kidnapping, assault or attempted rape.
Odd property seen in vehicles,such as TVs, stereos, weapons: Possible stolen property.
Locked vehicle that someone is trying to forcibly enter: Possible theft of car or contents in progress.
Older children or adults, who are not from the neighborhood, bicycling randomly or repeatedly without a purposeful destination: Possible theft of homes and/or garages.
SUSPICIOUS SOUNDS: Using your ears to detect suspicious activities is very helpful in combating crime. Sounds may only last a few seconds and may go undetected. Here are some sounds which require close attention, and reporting:
SCREAMS FOR HELP: Always assume the scream is real and someone desperately needs help. Quickly try to determine the location, source and nature of the scream and immediately call the police. Heroes can be wounded or killed. Remember that apprehension is the job of your police.
CONTINUOUS SCREAMING: This type of screaming probably is a result or someone being beaten, hurt or mistreated. Especially listen for victim’s cries of “Oh’s” and “Ow’s”. Quickly try to determine the location, source and nature of the scream and immediately call the police.
SCREAMING AND CURSING: This type of screaming is probably a domestic violence incident – between husband and wife, parent and child, two people who are intent on hurting each other but not in a life threatening way. Determine the location, source and nature of the scream and immediately call the police.
GUN SHOT SOUNDS: Immediately call the police. Provide as much information as to the number of shots and their source (location).
ALARMS ACTIVATED: Fire, home-burglary, business and car alarms must always be considered as real. Determine the location, source and nature of the alarm and call the police.
BREAKING GLASS: If you hear the sound of breaking glass immediately call the police or sheriff. This is the most common method of forced entry into a home, apartment or automobile.
LOUD MUSIC: Loud music is usually an annoyance and you can report it as any other nuisance. However, it is often used to cover up other criminal activities. If you hear loud music covering the cry of a screaming person, immediately call the police.
FORCING, PRYING OR POUNDING SOUNDS: If something is being forced, pried or pounded you should determine the location, source and nature of the sounds and if your suspicion is aroused, immediately call the police.
DOGS BARKING: Continuous barking of a dog in an unusual manner is cause for alarm. Determine the location of the dog and call the police.
Trust your instincts. Call immediately! Don’t Hesitate
Smash & Grabs: Auto burglaries that involve breaking a window to access valuables left inside an unattended vehicle. In the Foothills Area Command yesterday 7 of 8 auto burglaries involved accessing vehicles by damaging the windows. The 8th case was simply reaching into a truck bed to steal valuable tools. I recommend removing all items of value and any items with personal information from vehicles. These crimes were all preventable.
Property Crimes reported in the Foothills Area Command on Wed. September 6th:
1 Robbery to an Individual: 10100-block of Menaul Blvd NE.
3 Stolen Vehicles: 600-block of Dorothy St NE, 9800-block of Menaul Blvd NE, Comanche Rd NE & Camino De La Sierra NE.
1 Residential Burglary: 10000-block of Menaul Blvd NE.
8 Auto Burglaries: 2000-block of Maywood Dr SE, 100-block of Hotel Circle NE, 1100-block of Mary Ellen NE, 10300-block of Norman Ave NE, 12000-block of Princess Jeanne Ave NE, 3700-block of Mt. Ranier Dr NE, 10300-block of San Luis Rey Pl NE, Elena Gallegos Parking Area. Entries: smash & grabs, one open truck bed and items left there were stolen. Items stolen: Set of keys. Tools and a code book. Personal documents, $300 check, tools. DeWalt bag, tools, 2 drill bit sets, 3 batteries, drill, impact drill, charger. Jacket, shoes and clothing. Brass stencil set, construction diary. Perfumes and a book bag. Wallet, IDs and a cell phone.
Have a great day and I hope you liked the Block Captain’s take of what determines suspicious behavior for those of you who serve as ‘eyes and ears on the block’ or are not sure of when to call APD’s 911 or 242-COPS (2677).
Jill Garcia, Crime Prevention Specialist / ICPS, NCPS – APD, Foothills Area Command