, Newburyport, MA

Local News

March 28, 2014

Never hesitate to report suspicious activity

One of the more common calls we receive during the course of every shift is a report of “suspicious activity.” Examples would be a strange vehicle in the neighborhood, someone loitering about, an alarm sounding, an odd item left somewhere, breaking glass or even a dog barking at an unusual hour.

I encourage residents to report this type of activity when they believe something doesn’t seem right. It may be human instinct or that “sixth sense,” but reporting suspicious activity could actually stop a crime before it ever happens. Don’t assume someone else will report what you have seen or heard; quite often no one calls about suspicious activity.

Truthfully, unusual things happen in our community on a regular basis and many are not criminal or malicious. Reporting suspicious activity can help police locate and identify a criminal through witness observations.

Although you may not wish to be involved, fear retaliation, overreaction or even you won’t be believed, it’s often a good idea to call. It may turn out the strange car you see contains a pizza delivery person who’s trying to find a home, but it could also be someone who’s looking for home to burglarize.

Don’t worry if your observations turn out to be wrong; it’s always better to have a false alarm than to get a call later reporting a burglary, vandalism or other crime.

Determining how to report the suspicious activity can also cause some confusion. For instance, you may not believe the scenario is a true emergency and hesitate to dial 911. You may not have a business number handy or perhaps wish to remain anonymous. Dispatchers will encourage you to provide your name and number, but it’s not required.

A good rule to follow is: should you feel police are needed right away, dial 911. A call to 911 on a landline phone is quicker as the call is answered by the closest dispatcher. A 911 call on a cellphone will be answered by a regional dispatcher and transferred to the local department.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

Port Pics
AP Video
US Mission to Rescue Hostages in Syria Failed Manfred, Torre and MLB Take Ice Bucket Challenge Bank of America Reaches Record $17B Settlement Holder Reassures Ferguson Community With Visit GlobalPost CEO Remembers Foley As a Brave Man Seth Meyers Rolls Out Emmy Red Carpet Obama: World Is Appalled by Murder of Journalist Israel, Militants Trade Fire After Talks Fail Pres. George W. Bush Takes Ice Bucket Challenge Pierce Brosnan's Call to Join the Expendables Changes Coming to No-Fly List Raw: IDF Footage Said to Show Airstrikes Police: Ferguson More Peaceful Raw: Aftermath of Airstrike in Gaza Raw: Thousands March on Pakistani Parliament Raw: World's Oldest Man Lives in Japan Fire Crews Tame Yosemite Fire Raw: Police Weapon Drawn Near Protesters, Media Raw: Explosions in Gaza As Airstrikes Resume Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape
Special Features