Identifying Suspicious Behavior

You’ve probably heard the safety advice “See Something, Say Something” and at VCU, “See Something Shady? Call VCU Police.”

But what is “something”? The answer is “suspicious behavior.”

The most important action that students, faculty, staff and guests can take is to report suspicious behavior to VCU Police. From our perspective, there are no suspicious people, there are people who exhibit suspicious behaviors. 


Factors such as race, ethnicity, and/or religious affiliation are not suspicious. The public should only report suspicious behavior and situations. Context is really important. Just because someone's walking down the street and you may not recognize that person, it doesn't mean that they're suspicious. Be on the lookout for suspicious behavior that’s indicative of activity planning or committing a crime.

These behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Making threatening statements and/or actions 

  • Looking into the windows of vehicles or residences

  • Leaving parcels or bags in unusual places (or unattended) 

  • People in or around buildings or areas who do not appear to be conducting legitimate business

  • Vehicles driving slowly and aimlessly through neighborhoods, around schools or parking lots

  • People who change their behavior when they notice they have been seen

  • Repeated entrances and exits from a building or facility

  • Constantly favoring one side or one area of the body as if wearing something unusual/uncomfortable (e.g., a holster). Pay attention to a person constantly adjusting waistbands, ankles, or other clothing. Projected angles under clothing may also be indicative of a firearm, e.g., at the waist or the ankle.

When should you report suspicious behavior? We urge you to call police when:

  • You believe someone is in physical danger

  • You believe a specific crime is happening

  • You see specific activity that you believe is suspicious or unusual.

The VCU Police Department takes all threats, including those made online, seriously and will investigate.

To make a report, call one of the numbers below or send in tips on the free LiveSafe app; these tips are monitored 24/7. 

On Campus Emergency (804) 828-1234
  (804) 828-4357
Non-Emergency Responding (804) 828-1196
  (804) 828-2677