Reporting Suspicious Activity Helps Keep Houston Safe

By | June 5, 2017

While there are no specific or credible threats to the Houston area, the Mayor’s Office of Public Safety & Homeland Security wants to remind residents of their role in preventing terrorism.

Preventing Terrorism

The best way Houston area residents can help prevent terrorist attacks from happening is to be vigilant of their surroundings and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement. It’s important to remember that terrorism isn’t defined by what someone believes thinks, or the words they use. Terrorism is generally defined as the use of violence to pursue a political goal. Terrorism can be classified in many different ways, but ultimately, communities should be on-guard for acts which could result in death or injury.

Terrorism is a crime.

Remember it is not a crime to:

  • Make harsh or inflammatory comments about the U.S., its government or its people.
  • Have a strong set of beliefs that go beyond what is considered respectable discourse. Americans are guaranteed the right of free speech.

Who is a Terrorist?

The term “terrorist” can only apply to someone who has actually committed a crime. Terrorism is a type of blackmail used to threaten or intimidate.

Terrorism might target:

  • Government policies
  • One or more local communities
  • A business or businesses
  • One or more racial or ethnic groups
  • Members of any specialty group

The goals of terrorism are usually political, social, or religious in nature. Terrorists often truly believe they are pursuing justifiable and righteous goals.

Terrorists may be seeking:

  • To influence policy decisions
  • Their own homeland or some type of independence
  • Downfall of an existing government seen as unresponsive, authoritarian, corrupt or immoral
  • Exemption from various laws or rules

What is Considered Suspicious?

  • Suspicious Packages – Be alert to bags or packages that are unattended, that are smoking, or have visible suspicious wiring.
  • Surveillance – Be aware of people who may be taking photos or making notes of security measures, such as cameras, law enforcement, or emergency exits.
  • Unusual Supplies – If you observe someone buying or possessing a lot suspicious items that may be used to create explosives, such as fertilizer, chemicals, modified electronics or wires.
  • Unseasonable/Bulky Clothing – If you see someone wearing a large jacket when the weather is not calling for it, or clothing with unexplainable humps or shapes.
  • Unauthorized Entrance into Restricted Areas – People loitering around, or entering exits or restricted areas.
  • Unauthorized or Empty Vehicles – Vehicles without license plates, or those that are parked illegally, or for a long period of time should be treated as suspicious

How to Report Suspicious Activity

If you feel there is a life threatening emergency in progress, call 9-1-1.
To report activity you think may be suspicious, call 1-855-i-watch-4 (429-8244) or report it online at

Where can I learn more?

The Houston Regional Catastrophic Preparedness Initiative (RCPI) and Ready Houston Initiative has information for residents and businesses on preventing terrorism online at This includes a facilitator guide for businesses, and videos on a range of topics including:

Also, make sure your family is prepared to deal with the after effects of a terrorist attack. Download a copy of the City of Houston Disaster Preparedness Guide from

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District provided services such as safety patrols by off-duty HPD officers, graffiti abatement, trash pick-up, maintenance of esplanades, among other services outlined in the Districts’ Assessment Plan, that are supplemental to services provided by the City of Houston, had been reduced in Mid-November and ceased completely as of December 11. The District had to cease the services due to unpaid assessments from some of the commercial property owners within the District. Delinquent assessments for 2016 and prior years are being collected for services that were delivered in 2017. The current lawsuit status does not affect the collection of delinquent assessments due for 2016 and prior years for services rendered for calendar year 2017. Please direct questions regarding the cessation of services to Executive Director, Ben Brewer at We are committed to helping our neighborhood remain the safe, vibrant and attractive place to live and do business and would like to hear from you on how we can continue to work together in this effort.