If You See Something, Say Something
The City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) and the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) have teamed up with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to launch the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign to alert local residents of the critical role they play in helping to keep the community safe.
If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activity to law enforcement authorities. Residents are urged to call 855-RPRT-2S4 (855-777-8274) – the official toll-free number of the local Chicago and Cook County campaign – to report any non-emergency suspicious activity to local authorities. Both the OEMC and the DHSEM stress that security is the responsibility of the whole community; however, if there is an immediate threat to life or property, the public is urged to call 9-1-1.
Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. This includes, but is not limited to:
• Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the ordinary situations occur.
• Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
• Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera) ; taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.
Some of these activities could be innocent—it’s up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation. The activities above are not all-inclusive, but have been compiled based on studies of pre-operational aspects of both successful and thwarted terrorist events over several years. Remember, it’s important to be vigilant and aware of surroundings in any environment – in crowds, at concerts, in schools/campuses and in everyday life.
The “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign respects citizens’ privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties by emphasizing behavior, rather than appearance, in identifying suspicious activity. Factors such as race, ethnicity, and/or religious affiliation are not suspicious. The public should only report suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or package, or someone breaking into a restricted area).
Only reports that document behavior that is reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners.
Public safety is everyone’s responsibility. If you see suspicious activity, report it to local law enforcement or a person of authority.
Describe specifically what you observed, including:
• Who or what you saw;
• When you saw it;
• Where it occurred; and Why it’s suspicious.
THIS DOCUMENT WAS PREPARED UNDER A GRANT FROM THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY’S (FEMA’S) GRANT PROGRAMS DIRECTORATE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY.