Written by Terri Howard, FEI Senior Director

As we prepare for the upcoming holiday season by shopping in popular places and traveling across the country, I can’t help but be reminded of warnings to be vigilant and, if you see something, to say something. I think to do this in part because of the If You See Something, Say Something™ campaign, created by the United States Department of Homeland Security to raise public awareness on suspicious activities, behaviors or situations that may suggest acts of terrorism or terrorism-related crimes.

In this ever-changing world, we are reminded to maintain vigilance and recognize when a threat may be present. We all play a pivotal role in reporting suspicious activities to law enforcement authorities, which may help prevent or deter an attack in places frequented by us all.

The big question for many has often been: What exactly is suspicious activity? It could be a number of things, such as (but not limited to):

  • An unattended package.
  • Someone in a restricted area.
  • A window or door that may be open when it should be closed.
  • Someone curiously loitering, taking notes or using binoculars.
  • A car parked in an odd location.

Many of these things may appear normal on the surface. Regardless, let the professionals determine what is or isn’t normal; call them and report it. Remember as many details as possible including what, who, where and when.

It cannot be emphasized enough that we focus primarily on reporting suspicious behavior or activity—not people. Race, ethnicity or religion on its own isn’t suspicious and therefore should not be treated as such.

If all of us remain steadfast in our efforts—reporting suspicious activity and then going about our normal lives—then we are bound for a joyous holiday season.