Terrorism: You should profile behavior, not individuals


See Something, Say Something

What is Terrorism? How You Can Help

Everyone can play a role in preventing terrorist attacks. Certain activities or behaviors can indicate terrorist planning, especially when these activities occur at or near key facilities such as government, military, utility or other high-profile sites or places where large numbers of people gather.

Examples of suspicious activity include:

  • Surveillance—Are you aware of anyone recording or monitoring activities, taking notes, using cameras, maps, binoculars, etc., near a key facility?
  • Suspicious Questioning—Are you aware of anyone attempting to gain information in person, by phone, mail, e-mail, etc., regarding a key facility or its personnel?
  • Tests of Security—Are you aware of any attempts to penetrate or test physical security or procedures at a key facility?
  • Acquiring Supplies—Are you aware of anyone attempting to improperly acquire explosives, weapons, ammunition, dangerous chemicals, uniforms, badges, flight manuals, access cards or identification for a key facility or to legally obtain items under suspicious circumstances that could be used in a terrorist attack?
  • Suspicious Persons—Are you aware of anyone who does not appear to belong in the workplace, neighborhood, business establishment or near a key facility? This does not mean that we should profile individuals, but does mean that we should profile behavior.

What Should You Do?

  • Dry Runs—Have you observed any behavior that appears to be preparation for terrorist activity, such as mapping out routes, playing out scenarios with other people, monitoring key facilities, timing traffic lights or traffic flow, or other suspicious activities?
  • Deploying Assets—Have you observed abandoned vehicles, stockpiling of suspicious materials or persons being deployed near a key facility? (Source: FBI)
  • If you do observe suspicious activity, report it to your local police or other law enforcement agencies.

Some guidelines when reporting suspicious activity include:

  • What is happening?
  • Who is doing it?
  • Where is it taking place?
  • When did you observe it?
  • Why are you suspicious?

The “See Something, Say Something” does not promote spying on your neighbor, invading someone’s privacy, or taking the law into your own hands. It does not profile individuals who look, act, dress, or live differently than us. It strictly profiles behavior that may be linked to terrorism.