BE ALERT. Anything that seems slightly “out of place” or occurs at an unusual time of day could be criminal activity. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO APPREHEND A PERSON COMMITTING A CRIME OR TO INVESTIGATE A SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY. Call the police immediately, and do not worry about being embarrassed if your suspicions prove to be unfounded. Law enforcement officers would rather investigate than be called when it’s too late.

The following incidents MAY indicate possible criminal activity and should be reported:

  • Continuous repair operations at a non-business location (stolen property being altered);
  • Open or broken doors and windows at a closed business or unoccupied residence (burglary or vandalism);
  • Unusual noise, such as gunshots, screaming, or dogs barking continuously (burglary, assault, or rape);
  • Sound of breaking glass (burglary or vandalism); or
  • A person exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms (person may be injured, under the influence or drugs, or otherwise needing medical attention).

Time and accuracy are critical in reporting crime or suspicious events. Dial 911 to report life threatening incidents or a crime in progress, and use the Cape Coral non-emergency number (239-574-3223) for crimes that have already occurred. Your call could save a life, prevent an injury, or stop a crime. The information you provide will be kept confidential. You do not need to give your name, although this is often helpful.

Suspicious Persons
Obviously, not every stranger who comes into the neighborhood is a criminal. Legitimate door-to-door sales and repair persons appear in residential areas frequently. Occasionally, however, criminals disguise themselves as these workers; therefore it is important to be alert to the activities of all nonresidents. Law enforcement officers should be called to investigate persons in the following circumstances, who may be suspects in the crimes indicated:

  • Going door to door in a residential area, especially if one or more goes to the rear of the residence or loiters in front of an unoccupied house or closed business (burglary);
  • Forcing entrance or entering an unoccupied house (burglary, theft, or trespassing);
  • Running, especially if carrying something of value or carrying unwrapped property at an unusual hour (fleeing the scene of a crime);
  • Heavy traffic to and from a residence, particularly if it occurs on a daily basis (dealing drugs);
  • Screaming (rape or assault);
  • Loitering around or peering into cars, especially in parking lots or on streets (car theft);
  • Loitering around schools, parks, or secluded areas (sex offender);
  • Offering items for sale at a very low price (trying to sell stolen property); and
  • Loitering or driving through a neighborhood several times or appearing as a delivery person with a wrong address (burglary).

Suspicious Vehicles
Vehicles in the following situations may be involved in crimes and should be reported to authorities:

  • Slow moving, without lights, following aimless course in any location, including residential streets, schools, and playgrounds (burglar, drug pusher, or sex offender);
  • Parked or occupied, containing one or more persons, especially at an unusual hour (lookouts for a burglary or robbery);
  • Parked by a business or unoccupied residence, being loaded with valuables (burglary or theft);
  • Abandoned in your neighborhood (stolen car);
  • Containing weapons (criminal activity);
  • Someone, especially a female or juvenile, being forced into a vehicle (kidnapping, assault, or attempted rape); and
  • Persons detaching mechanical parts or accessories from the vehicle (theft or vandalism), or objects being thrown from it (disposing of contraband).

Describing and Reporting of Events
Practicing to develop skill in providing quick, accurate descriptions is an excellent Neighborhood Watch meeting activity. In attempting to describe events, vehicles, or persons, write down the details of what you have observed while they are still fresh in your mind, so your descriptions to law enforcement officials will be as accurate as possible.

  • Briefly describe the event: what happened, when, where, who was involved, were weapons used, and whether there are any injuries;
  • Describe the suspect: sex, race, age, height, weight, hair color, clothing, and distinctive characteristics such as a beard, mustache, scars, tattoos or accent; and
  • Describe the vehicle if one was involved: color, make, model, year, license plate, and special features such as stickers, dents, or decals.

Privacy Act Statement:
In compliance with the Privacy Act of 1974, the following information is provided: the collection of this information is authorized by 5 U.S.C. 301 and Section 2, Executive Order 13254, January 29, 2002. The primary purpose of the information is to provide a means of communication with individuals who have indicated an interest in the Neighborhood Watch mission and in specific areas of volunteer service. Providing this information is voluntary. All information submitted by a user is available to Cape Coral Neighborhood Watch. Notice published at 67 FR 30685-01 (May 7, 2002). OMB No. 1660-0078