Reporting something that just doesn’t look or feel right or normal for that particular environment, may be key information to preventing a serious incident.

See something – Say something!

Do you know where and how to report something suspicious? This will vary depending on what you have seen and what the procedure is for your location. If you are in a shopping centre, the procedure may be to report everything to Centre Management or Security [if you have them] and they will pass on information to the relevant authorities.

In any case, you should have the correct contact information readily available.

What is a ‘suspicious’ event or activity?

These activities could include the following (but there may be others):

  • unusual property or vehicle rentals
  • large purchases or dumping of fertiliser, chemicals or explosives or their containers
  • unusual video recording or photography of official buildings or other critical infrastructure
  • abandoned or suspicious vehicles near public buildings or public places
  • anything that appears unusual or out of place.

A guide is that if something worries you, or seems to need further possible police or security attention, please report it and let the authorities assess the situation.

All reports are taken seriously and investigated and authorities appreciate and continually rely upon the assistance of the community.

It is important that members of the community do not place themselves at risk.

If you see an unattended or suspicious package or bag in a public place, with no apparent reason for being there, it is suggested that you:

  • Ask people nearby if anyone owns it
  • If no one does, do not touch it and immediately vacate the area to a safe location
  • Alert others to keep away
  • Record the incident, including a description of the package or bag
  • If in a shopping mall, at a sporting event, in a building or on public transport, contact the relevant security authority
  • And/or call local police via 131 444 or Triple Zero (000).

Whilst everyone should be alert to unusual or suspicious activity, the public should not be alarmed and should continue with their daily routines and activities. Source

If you are witnessing something suspicious, try to remember as much detail as possible about the people involved, any vehicles and what they were doing. If you can’t make a report immediately, write down what you have seen so you don’t forget anything. Remember to make a note of the date and time the activities occurred.

In Australia, you can report suspicious activity to two national authorities:

Crime Stoppers Australia

A registered charity and non-profit organisation that receives information about suspicious and criminal activity. You are anonymous when you contact Crime Stoppers however you can choose to leave your details if you wish. You can call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or go online to their website at and report 24hrs per day.

Australian National Security

If you see or hear something you think is suspicious, call the National Security Hotline on 1800 123 400. You can report information anonymously. You can also email or send a text of picture message to the National Security Hotline MMS 0429 771 822.

Other State and Territory specific reporting options for Suspicious Activity:


Report Suspicious Activity to NSW Police


Report Suspicious Activity to Qld Police


Report Suspicious Activity to SA Police

Contact our team

Retailers have a wide range of pressures and obligations in terms of providing best practice information and resources to keep their teams safe and prepared. The National Retail Association offers training and assistance in preparing teams for serious incidents or emergency events such as managing an active armed offender, dealing with aggressive behaviour or reporting suspicious activity. Contact us for more information.

David Stout

David Stout

Director Policy National Retail Association
David is a highly-respected senior executive across a wide range of retail sectors including corporate affairs, operations, customer insights, finance, procurement, risk and regulation, stakeholder engagement, community and supply chain.  He is favourably regarded as a bipartisan and ethical operative in best practice across retail and corporate industry, regional and urban councils, local and state governments, and is currently involved in multiple advisory groups / committees.