Conducting Surveillance: Is Somebody Watching You?
Caution: Always exercise extreme caution as individuals conducting surveillance may not only be involved in gathering information for terrorist acts. In fact, they may also be involved in criminal activity. Always have all of the telephone numbers needed to report your findings (local law enforcement, terrorism tip lines).
Some information gatherers are highly trained individuals. Therefore, one should never presume that it would be easy to identify those conducting surveillance. To that effect, two common sense factors that may help guide the counter-surveillance efforts are:
- Frequent presence in a given area.
- No clear or logical reason for them to be in the vicinity.
Common Indicators #1
- Alone, nervous, agitated. Secretive, furtive behavior.
- Unusual behavior, such as staring at and quickly looking away from personnel observing them.
- Individuals waiting at a bus stop or train platform but not boarding.
- People standing in public or customer service areas but not requesting service.
- A person leaving a package or knapsack behind as they exit public transportation or a crowded area.
- Unusual interest in security measures, equipment and/or pedestrian traffic flow.
- An unidentified individual asking questions that pertain to facility infrastructure and security measures, in person or on the phone.
- Unexpected deliveries or services.
- Activity not consistent with location or task being conducted.
- Loose or bulky clothing not suited to current weather conditions.
- Unattended packages, briefcases, and other items.
- Unusual accessories not fitting in with the area or the individual (e.g., baby strollers, shopping carts, backpacks, delivery bicycles with storage compartments, ice cream carts).
- Equipment not consistent with commonly seen items within the area (e.g., Global Positioning Satellite devices, movie and still cameras, voice recording, sketching tools).
- Rigid, stiff midsection (indicative of concealed explosives or weapons).
- Exposed wires or switches. Hands not visible or tightly held. The deliberate, cautious actions of a person handling packages, backpacks, or baggage.
Common Indicators #2
- Individuals not fitting into the surrounding environment (e.g., an individual wearing a winter coat in summer, a backpack, a large duffle bag, suitcase).
- Individuals observing reaction drills, procedures, response times, and security equipment.
- Illegally parked vehicles in and around your facility.
- Individuals working in pairs or groups who appear near the same location on multiple occasions.
- An individual may create a scene to distract security personnel while the accomplice attempts to enter the facility.
- Individuals conveniently getting lost or disoriented while visiting your facility.
- Unannounced and/or unauthorized maintenance work. Persons or vehicles seen in the same location on multiple occasions; an individual sitting in a parked car for an extended period.
- Individuals disguised as panhandlers, shoe shiners, newspaper and food or flower vendors not acting consistently with their tasks.
- Individuals who do not work, have business, or belong in their current area, attempting to befriend someone to obtain sensitive information or attempting to blend in.
- An unknown individual hands you a parcel or letter for delivery to a building or for the mail.
- Persons observing (testing) your emergency response to abandon packages, suspicious activity, criminal activity, and/or motor vehicle accidents.
- Persons observing your emergency evacuation drills and or assembly areas.
- Individuals who appear to be conducting surveillance (e.g., explicit or discreet use of picture-taking, video cameras, cell-phone cameras, binoculars, note-taking, and/or sketching) of your facility.
- First responder vehicles or trucks being stored in unusual locations.
- First responders who do not appear to fit in or know what to do.
Suppose you suspect somebody is conducting surveillance against you. In this case, you should monitor it carefully and covertly and report this information to the appropriate law enforcement authorities.
Try to remember as much as possible about the individual conducting the surveillance, their clothing, personal identifying characteristics, their points of interest, vehicle information, and possible accomplices.
It is recommended that once you have completed your observation, you retreat to a location several blocks away from the targeted location to meet with authorities. Again, avoid causing undue attention; never arouse interest in yourself from a possible adversary.