“Suspicious behaviour” is a fairly broad term for a whole range of activities that can seem odd and out of place and could be a sign of a crime. Fortunately, there is often a simple explanation for why someone is behaving as they are.
However, reporting something that just doesn’t feel right can prevent serious crime and improve the safety of your community. But sometimes it can be confusing to know what to report and who to report to.
Behaviour is suspicious, not people. It’s when someone is doing something that’s seems unusual and out of place from what’s normal day-to-day activity.
Just because someone you don’t know, or someone from a different ethnic background or religion to you, is walking down your street or sitting in a car, doesn’t mean they’re suspicious.
But if they are looking into multiple car windows and trying door handles or going through people’s mailboxes or trying to enter your neighbour’s house when you know they’re not home – that’s suspicious.
Suspicious behaviour can be things like:
People may see this sort of behaviour but still not do anything about it. Why?
But with Victoria’s population at 6.7 million, and having just 16,700 police officers, it is vital that we be the extra eyes and ears to help police keep us safe.
Keep in mind that any information, no matter how small, can be important. It could be the missing piece that police need to prevent a crime.
And, if it amounts to nothing, there’s not enough information for action to be taken, there are no clear links to a crime or more information is needed to implicate the person, your report will be kept on file.
Our advice is to trust your gut. If something just doesn’t look or feel right, or you think a crime is happening or about to happen, then report it.
It can be tricky knowing who to report suspicious behaviour to. Is it serious enough to contact police? If so, do you go to your local station, call Triple Zero (000) or the Police Assistance Line. Maybe a report for Crime Stoppers. Or depending on your location would you be best to report to a security guard?
If you see something “odd” the authority that you report to will depend on your location and what you have seen, but the basic rule of thumb is:
To make your report as valuable as possible try to take in as much information as you can. A quick and accurate description of events, vehicles, and people involved can make all the difference in catching a potential criminal.
Here are some useful details to record:
If a vehicle is involved, it’s not enough to take note of the number plate as there’s a good chance, if there is a crime occurring or about to occur, the plates have been stolen.
And remember, only take photos or video if you can do it safely.
Neighbourhood Watch Victoria acknowledges the 38 mobs, the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we operate, live, and gather as employees and volunteers. We recognise their continuing connection to land, water and community and pay respect to Elders past, present and emerging.
At Neighbourhood Watch, we believe everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome. We are committed to ensuring diversity, inclusion and equity are embedded throughout our organisation – in the work we do, the services we deliver and among our staff, volunteers, and the communities we work with.