Identifying Suspicious Vehicles

January 18, 2014

Excerpt from Hidden Valley Homeowners Newsletter – March 2007 issue – Revised December 2013

In the February issue we gave you tips on being ALERT to events and suspicious activities in your neighborhood as presented by the National Sheriffs’ Association. This month highlights what to look for in suspicious vehicles. Next month’s article, will focus on suspicious persons.

Time and accuracy are critical in describing suspicious events, vehicles, or persons. Use your law enforcement agency’s emergency number to report life-threatening incidents or a crime in progress, and use the non-emergency number for incidents that have already occurred.

Suspicious Vehicles

Vehicles in the following situations MAY be involved in crimes and should be reported to the Sheriff.

  • Slow moving, without lights, aimlessly cruising in any location, including residential streets, schools, playgrounds (burglar, drug pusher, or predator);
  • Parked or occupied, containing one or more persons, especially at an unusual hour (lookouts);
  • Parked by a business or unoccupied residence, being loaded with valuables (burglary or theft);
  • Abandoned in your neighborhood (stolen);
  • Containing weapons (criminal activity);
  • Someone, especially a female or juvenile, being forced into a vehicle (kidnapping or assault);
  • Business transactions taking place in or out of the vehicle, especially near schools or parks (sale of stolen items or drugs);
  • Persons detaching mechanical parts or accessories (theft or vandalism);
  • Objects being thrown from moving vehicle (vandalism);
  • Driving recklessly;
  • Odd property seen in vehicles such as TV’s, stereos and electronics, weapons;
  • Someone forcing entry.

When describing vehicles, write down:

  • The vehicle license number and state. The make and type of vehicle, color, and approximate age;
  • Special designs or unusual features such as vinyl top, mag wheels, any body damage, pinstripes, etc.;
  • Direction of travel.


WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHO, HOW, AND WHY is what the Sheriffs’ Dept. needs to know.

Call the Sheriff on their non emergency # of 785-9276 or 911 if appropriate


Other articles in this series include:

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