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Spotting Suspicious Neighborhood Activities

When striving to keep your neighborhood safe for your family, how do you judge what you see around the community? Which people are supposed to be there, and which are dangerous? If you are part of a Neighborhood Watch group, then it is your responsibility to keep an eye on what's going on nearby. Even if you're on your own when it comes to home security, you must spot suspicious behaviors and report them to the police.

Suspicious behaviors in the neighborhood doesn't just mean a teenager spraying graffiti on a wall, or throwing a rock through a window. There are other behaviors to worry about too, and you might not immediately catch that something is out of the ordinary. Many criminals try to blend in so they aren't caught while committing crimes or breaking into homes on your street.

One suspicious behavior that might be a sign of a crime in progress is someone ringing doorbells at all the houses along your street. Sure, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to do so, such as salesmen. However, burglars may dress up as repairmen or solicitors so they blend in while standing on the porch. If their knock goes unanswered, they can assume that no one is home. It is particularly suspicious if the person ringing the doorbells goes to the backyard or side yard after approaching the front of the home.

If there is a vacant home in your neighborhood, be particularly mindful of people hanging around the empty home. Although there might be workers taking care of the house while the owners are gone, it is also possible that a burglary is in progress.

Whether the home is occupied or not, make a point to notice people carrying large items, such as furniture or electronics, out of the home. Although it's certainly possible that your neighbors are moving or have sold some of their belongings, it is also possible that the items are being stolen from the home, especially if you see this after dark.

Besides these one-time events, look for constant comings and goings from a particular home. Although your neighbors may simply like entertaining, this is also a common sign of a drug house, and may indicate other illegal activities going on in your neighborhood. It is best to call the police, rather than confronting your neighbors, as they may act out irrationally or unpredictably. The same goes for anyone wandering around the neighborhood, especially if they look confused or disoriented.

If you notice any of these suspicious activities in your neighborhood, move with caution and common sense. Although each of these scenarios has a potentially innocent explanation, it could also indicate a range of crimes happening in your community. Avoid getting in the middle of a burglary in progress or a potentially violent situation. Instead, call 911 to let the police deal with the matter. If you feel that you are in immediate danger, carry pepper spray or a stun gun to protect yourself, in case the situation takes a bad turn.

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