If you listen to the evening news you might be convinced that eminent danger is lurking around every corner and hidden in every shadow. On the other hand, while the media focus on crimes and chaos does present a skewed image of the state of our nation, it is true that bad tings do happen to good people, occasionally. Each of us needs to develop the knack of keeping our eyes and ears attuned to suspicious behavior around us.
What should you do if you see a stranger or suspicious behavior in your neighborhood? The first inclination for many people is to personally confront the individual or individuals. This is a bad idea.
Experts on criminal and terroristic behavior all agree on one thing: Never, ever confront a suspected criminal by yourself. A surprise confrontation dramatically increases your odds of being injured or worse. Rather than putting yourself at risk, experts unanimously agree that your only course of action should be to promptly alert your local law enforcement authorities, then wait and watch.
While you’re watching, write down all of the details while they are fresh in your mind. Note the physical description of the suspicious individual: age, race, estimated height and weight, hair color and length, facial features, and clothing details, including his or her shoes. If you observe the person getting out of or into a vehicle, make a note of the make, model, color, license-plate number, the direction it was traveling and how many individuals were in the vehicle.
Always use extreme caution. Obtaining useful information for the police is never worth putting yourself in danger.
This is particularly true in the case of a burglary or attempted burglary, especially if it is your own home an intruder has targeted. If you are returning home and see something suspicious, use your cell phone or go to a neighbor’s house to notify the police. If you are in your home and hear someone trying to break in, get out of the house any way you can and go to a neighbor’s house to summon help.