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Brown Home Brown Home Brown Home Department of Public Safety

How to Recognize Suspicious Circumstances

When reporting suspicious circumstances to the Department of Public Safety, we encourage you to focus on the behavior of a person that appears to be suspicious. The behavior should demonstrate acts that raise your suspicion and cause concern for your safety, or the safety of others. Below is some information that may aid you in identifying suspicous circumstances.

Suspicious Circumstances to be aware of:

  • Persons monitoring areas, entrances to buildings or buildings.
  • Persons pacing back and forth who appear to be dazed or confused
  • Persons speaking incoherently
  • Persons wandering in residence halls or buildings that appear to have no legitimate purpose.
  • Unauthorized persons in restricted or sensitive areas.
  • Persons requesting sensitive information, building/HVAC plans, water, electrical, telecommunications locations, etc.
  • Persons wearing clothing not consistent with weather conditions (i.e. person(s) wearing full length trench coats with boots in 70 degree weather).
  • Persons abandoning packages, backpacks, briefcases in unusual areas, such as high traffic/high populated areas, i.e.: sporting events, lectures, common areas, etc.
  • Persons attempting to access utility rooms.
  • Multiple persons who appear to be working in consort, committing any of the above.
  • Unusual powders or liquids/droplets/mists/clouds, especially found near intake/HVAC systems or enclosed spaces.
  • Dead animals/birds, fish, insects.
  • Unexplained/unusual odors. Smells may range from fruity/flowers to sharp/pungent, garlic/horseradish-like, bitter almonds, peach kernels, and newly mown grass/hay. Unusual/unscheduled spraying or discovery of spray devices or bottles.

Suspicious Vehicles:

  • Abandoned vehicles, or unfamiliar parked vehicles, especially near sensitive areas, high traffic/populated areas, common areas, etc.
  • Unexpected/unfamiliar delivery trucks.
  • Vehicles containing suspicious persons, parcels or materials.
  • A group of individuals sitting in a parked vehicle that appear to monitoring pedestrian behavior.
  • Vehicles arriving and being left at odd hours, at odd locations.
  • Unusual powders or liquids/droplets/mists/clouds leaking or spilling from vehicles.

Building and Office Security Tips:

  • Do not prop doors, or allow persons to “tailgate” into buildings, specifically residence halls. Rectify these situations when you observe them.
  • Lock offices and residence hall rooms when unattended. In addition, lock residence hall rooms when sleeping.
  • Secure ground and first-level windows prior to leaving the office for the day.
  • Do not leave keys unattended or give them to unauthorized persons. Report lost keys immediately to Public Safety by calling x3322.
  • Secure and account for all sensitive material, i.e.: building plans, computer codes, access cards, etc. Report compromised codes to appropriate person(s) and lost access cards to Public Safety.
  • Secure sensitive deliveries in a timely manner.
  • Talk to co-workers about meeting points in the event of an evacuation. Be prepared to report missing co-workers who may still be in the building to Public Safety or fire officials.
  • Familiarize yourself with your co-workers, student employees, or residence peers to improve your ability of knowing/identifying suspicious persons.