Report suspicious behavior; let police decide what is credible

When violent crime happens, usually at some point after the fact you’ll hear someone say something like “well, (perpetrator) has been acting strangely lately.”

Just imagine how many incidents over the years could have been prevented (and how many lives could have been saved) had someone just alerted authorities to suspicious behavior.

We understand that some people have reservations about going to the police with information they aren’t sure is credible. We understand that some people believe it’s none of their business what someone else is doing unless that person is hurting them.

But preventing violent crime should be everyone’s business.

The Pennsylvania State Police has released guidelines for what should be considered suspicious behavior and how to report it to law enforcement.

Among the examples of suspicious behavior listed (there are too many to list here in the available space) are conversations in which others make threatening, unusual or alarming statements, observing others in areas that are off-limits to the public, others acting nervously or impatiently and wearing clothing that could be used to hide the wearer’s identity.

The state police also urge those witnessing suspicious behavior to contact their local police department and the Pennsylvania State Police tip line at (888) 292-1919 or via email at tips@pa.gov.

And, of course, if an emergency situation develops, someone should dial 911.

Does suspicious behavior always mean a crime is imminent? Of course not. But it’s better to be safe than sorry and let the police decide if a threat is credible.

Many people believe it is law enforcement’s job to make our communities safer. But the truth is that police require regular citizens to be their eyes and ears and let them know where they are needed most.

With the help of everyone working together, we can make this region a safer place for all.