Portland police want citizens to keep watch for suspicious behavior as big summer crowds arrive

Portland police this week are reminding area residents to be vigilant as summer rolls in — accompanied by crowds of visitors and popular events such as this weekend’s Old Port Festival.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck (BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett)

In a Thursday morning announcement, Portland police reminded locals that tips, photos and videos from the public were crucial in identifying and later apprehending the suspects believed to be responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. As people enjoy Portland this summer, the police said, be aware of suspicious behavior, such as individuals leaving strange backpacks unattended in crowds or wearing bulky clothing inappropriate for the weather.

Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck said in a statement that members of the public should follow the rule of “If you see something, say something,” and not worry about being wrong about their suspicions:

We are fortunate to live and work in a very safe and welcoming community. But, safety is a shared responsibility, which is why it is important that if you see something that isn’t right or seems suspicious you notify someone. We don’t expect you to put the pieces together, rather, as trained professionals; the police department will review and investigate the information if it’s appropriate.

A critical element of the Police Department’s mission is ensuring that the civil rights and civil liberties of persons are not diminished by security efforts, activities, and programs. This effort is intended to respect civil rights and civil liberties as the department is emphasizing behavior, rather than appearance, in identifying suspicious activity. Factors such as race, ethnicity, national origin, or religious affiliation alone are not suspicious. For that reason, the public should report only suspicious behavior and situations like an unattended backpack in a public place or someone trying to break into a restricted area rather than beliefs, thoughts, ideas, expressions, associations, or speech unrelated to criminal activity.

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Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.