Report Suspicious Behavior

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Iowa HSEMD does not have law enforcement authority

While the Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management works collaboratively with many law enforcement agencies (including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), the agency does not have law enforcement authority.

If you wish to report suspicious behavior you have witnessed, please call 9-1-1, your local law enforcement agency, or the Iowa Department of Public Safety. The Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association has an online member directory. If you believe you may have information about a human trafficking situation, please contact the Iowa Office to Combat Human Trafficking at humantrafficking@dps.state.ia.us or report a tip at Human Trafficking Tip Form.

If you SEE Something, SAY Something. Visit the Say Something Iowa website.

What is suspicious behavior?

Suspicious activity is any observed behavior that could indicate terrorism or terrorism-related crime. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Unusual items or situations: A vehicle is parked in an odd location, a package/luggage is unattended, a window/door is open that is usually closed, or other out-of-the-ordinary situations occur.
  • Eliciting information: A person questions individuals at a level beyond curiosity about a building’s purpose, operations, security procedures and/or personnel, shift changes, etc.
  • Observation/surveillance: Someone pays unusual attention to facilities or buildings beyond a casual or professional interest. This includes extended loitering without explanation (particularly in concealed locations); unusual, repeated, and/or prolonged observation of a building (e.g., with binoculars or video camera); taking notes or measurements; counting paces; sketching floor plans, etc.

Some of these activities could be innocent—it’s up to law enforcement to determine whether the behavior warrants investigation. The activities above are not all-inclusive, but have been compiled based on studies of pre-operational aspects of both successful and thwarted terrorist events over several years.

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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking can happen anywhere, at any time, and Iowa is dedicated to preventing this crime. The Iowa Office to Combat Human Trafficking created the “See It and Report It” initiative that supports new legislation to provide free HT prevention training and certification to the lodging industry. All Iowans can play a part in stopping this crime. Visit StopHTIowa.org to learn more. 

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Internet/Email "Phishing" Scams

If you have received an email supposedly from Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management or any other government or law enforcement agency claiming that you owe money or threatening you with legal action, please contact your local law enforcement agency. Identity thieves will constantly try to trick you to give them your personal information (credit card numbers, bank account information, passwords, etc.). Don’t write back, and don’t give them any personal information!

If you have received such an email, you may also report it to the Internet Crimes Complaint Center.

For additional information about fraud and phishing, visit the Iowa Attorney General’s website.

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Additional contact information

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