« Return to Newsletter

Featured Article: Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR)

In today’s world, we have had to adapt to changing new threats in the security field, from bomb threats to active shooters, now referred to as active threats. In my opinion, it seems that once an act of terrorism or threat has occurred, multiple incidents of that same nature seem to occur all over the United States. SAR, Suspicious Activity Reporting, was formerly known as 7 signs of Terrorism.

There are ways for you to help identify threats or signs of Terrorism.  Some of the signs below to watch for, can also be helpful in reporting other security situations at hand.

  1. Surveillance – Watch for people out of place, possibly with cameras or drawing in notebooks, watching or observing buildings and or installations.
  2. Elicitation – Gathering information through conversations or emails.  Strangers having strong or unusual interests in facilities buildings, fencing, security camera’s or procedures.
  3. Tests of Security – terrorists will test or challenge to see how long security or emergency response takes to get to a scene.
  4. Acquiring Supplies – terrorists will acquire uniforms, badges, decals, weapons, ammunition, etc., usually in mass quantities.
  5. Suspicious Persons/ Behaviors – Anyone seeming to not fit in, looks lost, watching security personnel, or entrances, out of the normal activity for personnel coming and going from your facility.
  6. Dry Runs/Trial Runs – Rehearsing the attack, going through the motions.
  7. Deploying Assets – Terrorists will set their plan in motion.

To assist with reporting any of the above activities to your security personnel, local law enforcement agencies or appropriate department heads, the acronym below may help you remember information to report.


Size - Number of people, gender, age, physical descriptions

Activity – What are they doing?

Location – Provide exact location

Uniform – Describe clothing and shoes if possible

Time – Date, time, and how long you have noticed an activity

Equipment – Describe vehicle, cameras, and weapon

If you are interested in obtaining additional information on the SAR (7 Signs of Terrorism), I recommend looking in your local area for free preparedness classes.  I attended a class given by the Norfolk FBI during one of their Aware Prepare Plan campaigns and found the information very helpful. 

Remember: if you See Something, Say Something

The FBI has a website to report suspicious activities at this link;


Local authorities will also take your phone calls at each precinct in your own area. It is best to call their non-emergency phone number unless you feel that the activity you are reporting is a true emergency, then call 911.

Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) information is available at https://nsi.ncirc.gov/

SAR training for private sector partners is located at https://nsi.ncirc.gov/hsptregistration/private_sector/


About the Author

Tammy Nolette is a Personnel Security Assistant for ITA International, LLC.  Tammy has worked in shipyard security for 8 years.  She is also a board member of CPAAAN (Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association of Norfolk), a member of CERT of Norfolk (Community Emergency Response Team), and InfraGard.  Tammy also has her HAM radio technician license (KM4CSI).

« Return to Newsletter