Report a Crime or Concern

Suspicious Behavior

Northbrook residents and visitors can help protect our community by learning to recognize and report suspicious activity. Prompt and detailed reporting can help prevent crimes.

Suspicious behavior or activity can be any action that is out of place and does not fit into the usual day-to-day activity of your residential street, park, school, or favorite store/shopping center – in other words, anywhere in our community. For example, you see someone looking into multiple vehicles or testing to see if they are unlocked. 

If you witness behavior that concerns you, trust your instincts and call 911.

Don’t hesitate. Even if you are unsure as to what is going on, the best thing to do is to let officers investigate. You may help prevent crime. When the police catch someone in the act of breaking into a car, a home or stealing something, it is not unusual for that person to be responsible for multiple other crimes. You shouldn’t worry about using up an officer’s time. The additional information will give police important data to identify trends and make decisions about when and where to enhance patrols.

It’s important to remember, however, that it is a person’s behavior, not their race, religion or national origin, that may be suspicious. Suspicious activities or behaviors may include, but are not limited to:

  • Wandering around neighborhood areas attempting to open multiple doors
  • Someone paying unusual attention to a home or business beyond a casual or professional interest (e.g. concealing the use of a camera or video camera or making notes, diagrams or sketches of an area)
  • Seeming nervous and looking over their shoulders
  • Claiming to represent a utility company, but not wearing a uniform, does not produce identification upon request or does not have a company logo vehicle
  • Carrying property at an unusual hour or location, especially if they are attempting to hide the item
  • Using binoculars or other devices to peer into home windows
  • Driving a vehicle slowly and aimlessly around a neighborhood
  • Sitting in a vehicle for extended periods of time or conducting transactions from a vehicle
  • Abruptly changing behavior when seen
  • Dressing inappropriately for the weather or occasion (having a coat on when the temperature is warm, etc.)
  • Unusual noises like glass breaking or out of the ordinary dog barking

When to Call 911

If you witness concerning or suspicious behavior, call 911 with the following information:

  • Name and location
  • What you see
  • Description of person(s) involved
  • Location of person(s) involved

Keep a safe distance from the person until law enforcement arrives. Keep an eye on the person only if it is safe to do so.

Get a good description of the suspicious person if personal safety allows. Note their height, weight, sex, complexion, approximate age, clothing, method and direction of travel, and name if known. This provides vital information to investigating police officers.

If the person attempts to leave the scene in a vehicle, bicycle, etc., do not attempt to detain them—but try to make note of the vehicle’s make and model, license number, color and any outstanding characteristics.