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Suspicious People

Keep an eye out for people in the wrong place and wandering aimlessly around agency property. Remember that terrorists shadow their targets before they attack. Be leery of individuals expressing an unusual level of interest in aspects of agency operations. Quite often people casing an area are looking for system vulnerabilities that they could exploit. Often times these suspicious individuals pose as newspaper reporters. Never submit to interviews or photographs.


  • In an unauthorized area
  • In the wrong place or appears lost
  • Overdressed for the weather conditions
  • Loitering and/or watching customers and employees
  • Pacing, nervous or jumpy
  • Acting in a disorderly manner that alarms or disturbs others
  • A repair, utility or delivery person or other "trusted employee" who is out of place
  • Expressing an unusual level of interest in operations, personnel, equipment or facilities
  • On agency property without proper identification, uniform or safety gear

If you see people wandering around and you are not sure who they are, call security or the police if you think they look dangerous. If they don't look particularly dangerous, simply approach them and offer help. Avoid profiling and observe where people are, when they are there and what they are doing.


Avoid approaching people who are threatening or dangerous. Do not become confrontational, abusive or offensive. Do not try to detain or hold a person by any means. If you have observed an unfamiliar person in a restricted or unauthorized area or engaged in suspicious activity, check the areas in which they were seen for signs of tampering or suspicious packages, devices or substances.

When approaching an unfamiliar person in a restricted area, calmly ask if you can help. Request identification, ask what the person's business is or whom he or she is there to see, and offer to escort the person out of the area. Notify security, police or your supervisor if there is no explanation for the person's presence. While doing so try to keep the person in sight at all times and observe and report his or her location, activity, behavior and physical characteristics.


When you observe someone who is suspicious, based upon his or her location and/or activity, you need to make a mental note of certain characteristics. These characteristics will help security or police officers identify the person should he or she leave the area. Aside from this list also note the person's gender and speech or accent.

Eyes: Color, shape, eyelashes and eyebrows

Ears: Size, shape

Mouth/Nose: Size of lips, shape and nostrils

Hair/Facial Hair: Color, length, texture, hairline, clean-shaven, bearded or mustache

Forehead: Skin texture, height

Cheeks/Chin: Flesh texture, bone structure, shape, type (cleft, dimpled)

Neck: Adam's apple, hanging jowls, length, width

Complexion: Skin, color, texture, pores, pockmarks, acne, rashes, scars, birthmarks, bumps

Body Shape/Size: Height, weight, build

Hat: Color, style, how it is worn

Jewelry: Rings, watches, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, body piercing

Shirt/Blouse/Dress: Color, pattern, design, sleeves, collar

Coat: Color, style, length

Pants/Skirt: Color, pattern, design, length, cuffs

Socks/Shoes: Color, pattern, style, clean/dirty

Oddities/Tattoos: Shape, size, color, location on body

General Appearance: Neat, sloppy, clean, dirty

Accessories: Purses, briefcases, backpacks, packages

Next: Suspicious Activities and Packages
 Introduction and Goals
 What is System Security?
 Terrorist Weapons
 The Threat
 Security Measures
 Bus Systems
 Light Rail Systems
 Heavy Rail Systems
 Suspicious People
 Suspicious Activities and Packages
 Suspicious Devices
 Suspicious Substances
 Threat and Incident Priorities
 IED Evacuation Ranges
 Incident Management
 Incident Command
 Four Don'ts

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