A question we often get asked at Crime Stoppers is ‘what do you mean by suspicious behaviour or activity, how do we know what that is or what it looks like?’
There are so many different examples, but a general answer we like to give is that ‘suspicious’ implies the absence of the normal and presence of the abnormal, and we’ll explain what we mean by this.
We all have parts of our lives that we’re familiar with. This could be our street, neighbours, place of education or work, an area we regularly visit or patrol. That familiarity tells us what we are used to seeing and hearing and would normally expect from the people and places around us.
You might know some of your neighbours and their usual habits, what car they drive, when they leave or come back from work or if the dog barks at the postie at certain times. If any of those things change and numerous cars start coming and going at odd hours of the day or night, someone you don’t recognise is acting strangely or the dog barks persistently at odd hours, then that is suspicious.
If you’re a security guard, ranger, courier or ride share driver, you know the areas you work in, the businesses you deliver to and normal behaviour of passengers. If something looks different or someone is behaving unusually, then that arouses suspicion. You often know what just doesn’t feel right.
While working in hospitality or at the airport, you might be wary of a particular guest or passenger because their behaviour seems unnatural, their answers to certain questions raise doubts, they look afraid or intimidated, or they’re carrying around some unusual belongings. That is the presence of the abnormal.
Perhaps you know of someone who doesn’t seem to have a job but has expensive cars, boats and holidays which don’t seem to match their income? That’s what we call unexplained wealth and you’d be asking yourself how they’re able to afford those things. They could have got lucky with Lotto or received an inheritance, but it could also mean they’re involved in illegal activities.
You are the eyes and ears in your community and know when something doesn’t feel right and that is when we want you to tell us about your suspicions. The police don’t know what the usual pattern of behaviour is in every corner of our state, but you might and would detect the absence of the normal.
Even if you think your suspicions or feelings might not be valuable to police or authorities, share that information and let them decide. Other people might have had the same uneasiness and reported their suspicions to Crime Stoppers, and these extra pieces of the puzzle are more likely to result in police action and positive change to your community.