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When is it OK to contact police about ‘suspicious activities’ in your neighborhood?

Posted at 11:41 PM, Dec 05, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-06 00:08:11-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The California home of the suspected San Bernardino terrorists looked like that of any other in the neighborhood. According to neighbors, everything appeared to be normal, but they had no idea the couple living on the block were planning a deadly attack.

The California shooting rampage has people asking this question, ‘How well do you know your neighbor?’

"I often ride around the neighborhood and talk to people and make sure I know them, they know me,” said Powhatan resident Arthur Scott.

Jim Drews said he always tries to stay connected in his neighborhood. "I have really good neighbors. They look after me and I look after them as well as possible.”

Chesterfield resident Kelly Markey said, "I would say I know them enough to converse...you know....in passing.”

Richmond Deputy Chief Steve Drew said local law enforcement officials are constantly monitoring "Acts of Terrorism" across the country.

"I think the public's safety is everyone's responsibility, and that's a huge, huge part of it...being aware of our surroundings,” said Drew.

Drew said any tips from the public no matter how small can make a big difference.

"I know that sometimes intimidates people or citizens that if I call police am I going to be recorded?  If I call the police is somebody going to come and knock on my door?  Can I remain anonymous?  I think it's important that everyone understand… absolutely,” said Drew.

Drew stressed, if you see something, say something.

When asked, “Do you think by doing that, it can become an invasion of privacy?” Drew said no.

“I think there's ways we handle that,” said Drew. “We take the information and evaluate it for what it is.”

And people we spoke with agreed.

"If something was going on in my neighborhood or with me. And my neighbors didn't do anything I would feel bad about that,” said Drews.

"I've done that before. I've heard something suspicious in the neighborhood and I've called to make sure everything was okay,” said Markey.