It is Important to Report Suspicious Incidents- Don’t Be Afraid to Be Wrong!

A common trait in many people when it comes to reporting a suspicious incident is a feeling of anxiety or the fear of being wrong. People feel if they misdiagnose a potential crime or threat, peers, management and/or responders would make them feel as though they had wasted their time. This is false. It IS IMPORTANT to report suspicious incidents.

My experience has revealed that through fear of embarrassment and consequence people are apprehensive to report a potential threat.

When You See Something, Say Something

As a current law enforcement officer and founder of Guardian Defense, I frequently witness and hear stories of tragic events that occur locally within our area of service and nationally through our training. It is likely that these tragedies can be prevented if you report suspicious incidents.

There are a few common denominators that I have found to be true in many cases:

  1. There is usually one witness that observed some suspicious behavior prior to the act occurring.
  2. The witness knew the person that committed the crime. After the incident, the witness says that they knew there was something suspicious about that suspect.

It is not Embarrassing to Report Suspicious Incidents

The majority of police work comes in a reactive manner where citizens observe the crimes or suspicious activity and law enforcement must then respond.

I have witnessed people who take the initiative, viewed something suspicious and reported it.

In many cases, once the incident was investigated it turned out there was a completely legitimate explanation from the accused. However, this left the individual feeling as though they wasted police time and possibly a consequence would be the result. I can personally state this is quite the contrary. Officers appreciate vigilant and cognizant citizens.

Reporting Suspicious Incidents can Prevent Tradgedies

This example coincides with not just citizens reporting suspicious behavior to the police.

  • Teachers should feel confidence in reporting suspicious persons on or around their campus.
  • In the workplace, you should report if you hear someone threaten a co-worker.
  • Everyone has a duty to act and report these incidents to their local law enforcement, principal, or supervisor.
  • These actions could potentially stop a violent act from occurring.

In Conclusion,

  • It is better to have said something and be wrong then to not say something at all
  • Do not be afraid of being wrong
  • You do not waste the time of police officers when you report suspicious incidents
  • If we are all vigilant we can prevent future tragedies.

To learn more about preventing violence and being prepared in the face of an active threat please visit our homepage, and choose the tab that best describes your place of work.

For some instant access to information about preparing for an Active Threat, visit our homepage and scroll down to the video to watch our Free Training: 5 Immediate Actions You MUST Know When Confronted By an Active Shooter!




About Steven S. Smith

Steven S. Smith, the President and Founder of Guardian Defense, offers active shooter training programs to staff within schools, colleges, churches, law enforcement agencies, businesses, and hospitals; in order to build confidence and save time in the event of an intruder, active shooter or killer, or other terror attack. Mr. Smith is a current certified law enforcement officer and has a range of experience on school and public safety, and investigation work. He is currently a team leader and instructor on the SWAT Team, for which he joined in 2009. Mr. Smith graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a concentration in Criminal Justice, in 2005 from Nova Southeastern University.