Identifying Suspicious Persons and Activities

What To Look For

  • Someone screaming or shouting for help
  • Unusual noises (breaking glass, pounding, gunshots)
  • Property being taken out of student rooms or class rooms that are closed
  • Expensive property being carried out of a building, especially at unusual hours
  • Vehicle driving slowly, and aimlessly, back and forth on a street or in a parking lot
  • Anyone being forced into a vehicle
  • Someone running from a vehicle, building or area while carrying property, computers, furniture, luggage
  • Any abandoned vehicles on campus
  • Someone hanging around bike racks
  • Someone looking into building windows or windows of parked vehicles, or trying to open them
  • Any form of vandalism, such as spray painting a sign or building; graffiti; removing benches or signs; pulling up or removing plants and shrubbery
  • Recently broken doors or windows
  • A tense situation that’s about to blow up (fighting, threatening, verbally abusive behavior)
  • Any emergency, such as an accident, a fire, a critically ill or injured person
  • A person staggering about, appearing intoxicated, disoriented, or in need of medical attention
  • Anything “unusual” for the area you are in

What To Do 

  • Remain calm
  • Keep away from the suspicious person(s) or activity
  • Avoid taking any risks
  • Notify the University Police immediately by using 9-1-1
  • You can also use EyeWitness to notify USF Tampa Police if you feel that making a phone call may jeopardize your safety

What Not To Do

  • Approach the suspicious person(s) or activity
  • Try to apprehend or hold the suspect(s)
  • Take any risks with your safety
  • Delay reporting the incident unnecessarily

Reporting It To The Police

  • Briefly describe the incident
  • When did the incident happen?
  • Where did the incident happen?
  • Who was involved in the incident?
  • Were there weapons involved?
  • Where did the suspect(s) go?
  • What kind of car, if any, was involved?

Describe the Suspect(s)

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Age
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Hair color
  • Clothing
  • Any distinctive characteristics (beard, mustache, scars, tattoos, or accents)

Describe the Vehicle

  • Color
  • Make
  • Model
  • Year
  • License plate number
  • Any special features (stickers, dents, or decals)

After Reporting

  • Stay on the line with the dispatcher if he/she  requests
  • Let the dispatcher know if there are any changes in the circumstances
  • Stay in the area and meet with the officer if it is safe to do so
  • Leave the area if you believe that you are in any danger