Call the Police if You See One of These Outside Your House in Florida!

Florida, known for its sunny beaches and vibrant culture, also has its fair share of peculiarities. While the state is famous for its beautiful landscapes and diverse wildlife, it is also home to some less savory elements. Certain signs and sightings can indicate trouble, and being aware of them can help keep you and your community safe. This article delves into specific things you should be cautious about if you see them outside your house in Florida.

Suspicious Vehicles

Description of Common Suspicious Vehicles

In Florida, suspicious vehicles can often be an indicator of criminal activity. These vehicles might be slowly cruising through neighborhoods, parked in unusual spots for extended periods, or showing signs of tampering such as broken windows or missing plates. Common suspicious vehicles include vans with no windows, cars with out-of-state plates, or vehicles that appear to be loaded with unusual cargo.

Notable Incidents and Statistics

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, there has been a noticeable increase in vehicle-related crimes, particularly in urban areas. For instance, in Miami, there were over 10,000 vehicle-related thefts reported in 2023 alone. Tampa and Orlando also have significant numbers, with 8,000 and 7,500 incidents respectively. These statistics highlight the importance of staying alert to suspicious vehicles in your vicinity.

Cities with Higher Rates of Vehicle-Related Crimes

  1. Miami: As one of Florida’s largest cities, Miami experiences a high rate of vehicle-related crimes. Areas such as Little Havana and Overtown are particularly prone to these incidents.
  2. Tampa: With its bustling urban environment, Tampa also sees a significant number of vehicle-related crimes, especially in neighborhoods like Ybor City and East Tampa.
  3. Orlando: Known for its tourist attractions, Orlando has hotspots like Pine Hills and Holden Heights where vehicle-related crimes are more frequent.
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Unfamiliar People

Identifying Suspicious Behavior

Spotting unfamiliar people around your house doesn’t automatically mean danger, but certain behaviors can be red flags. These include individuals loitering without a clear purpose, peering into windows, or attempting to access secured areas. They might also be carrying tools or items that could be used for break-ins.

Case Studies of Criminal Activities

In 2022, a series of burglaries in Jacksonville were traced back to a group of individuals who were frequently seen loitering in residential areas. Their behavior went unnoticed until it was too late, leading to significant property losses for several homeowners. Similarly, in St. Petersburg, a rise in home invasions was linked to unfamiliar people seen canvassing neighborhoods during the day.

Areas with Increased Reports of Suspicious Individuals

  1. Jacksonville: Neighborhoods like Arlington and San Marco have reported increased sightings of suspicious individuals.
  2. St. Petersburg: Areas such as Childs Park and Midtown are noted for higher instances of unfamiliar people acting suspiciously.
  3. Fort Lauderdale: With its mix of residential and tourist areas, neighborhoods like Dorsey-Riverbend and Lake Ridge see more reports of suspicious activities.

Abandoned Items

Types of Items That Should Raise Alarms

Finding abandoned items such as backpacks, boxes, or bags outside your house can be alarming. These items could potentially contain harmful materials or evidence of criminal activity. It’s important not to touch or move them and to report them to the authorities immediately.

Examples of Dangerous Situations

In 2023, an abandoned suitcase found outside a residential building in Miami was discovered to contain explosives, leading to an evacuation and a bomb squad intervention. In Tampa, a similar incident involved a suspicious package that was later found to contain illegal drugs.

High-Risk Areas for Such Incidents

  1. Miami: High-density areas like Downtown and Brickell often see more abandoned items due to the heavy foot traffic.
  2. Tampa: Channelside and Ybor City have also reported multiple incidents involving suspicious abandoned items.
  3. Orlando: With a large number of tourists, areas near major attractions like International Drive are more prone to these incidents.
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Unusual Wildlife

Types of Wildlife That Can Pose a Threat

Florida’s diverse wildlife can sometimes wander into residential areas, posing various threats. Alligators, snakes, and large predatory birds are common examples. It’s crucial to maintain a safe distance and report sightings to wildlife control services.

Stories of Wildlife-Related Dangers

In 2022, a family in Naples discovered an alligator in their swimming pool, leading to a tense standoff until wildlife officials could safely remove it. Similarly, in the Everglades region, several homes reported sightings of invasive Burmese pythons, which are known to be dangerous.

Regions with Frequent Wildlife Sightings

  1. Naples: With its proximity to natural reserves, Naples frequently reports wildlife sightings in residential areas.
  2. Everglades: Homes near the Everglades are often visited by a variety of wildlife, including dangerous species.
  3. Orlando Suburbs: Areas on the outskirts of Orlando, close to natural habitats, see more incidents of wildlife encroaching on human spaces.

Vandalism and Graffiti

Recognizing Gang-Related and Other Dangerous Markings

Vandalism and graffiti can be more than just an eyesore; they can indicate gang activity or mark territories for criminal groups. Recognizing specific symbols, tags, and colors associated with gangs can help in identifying potential threats.

Impact of Vandalism on Community Safety

Vandalism can lead to a decline in neighborhood safety and property values. It often precedes more serious crimes, making it crucial to address immediately. In 2023, neighborhoods in Miami like Liberty City saw a correlation between increased graffiti and a rise in violent crimes.

Locations with Prevalent Vandalism Issues

  1. Miami: Liberty City and Wynwood are known for significant graffiti and vandalism issues.
  2. Orlando: Parramore and Holden Heights have also reported increased vandalism activities.
  3. Tampa: East Tampa and Sulphur Springs frequently deal with graffiti and other forms of vandalism.
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Community Safety Tips

Steps to Take If You See Something Suspicious

  1. Stay Calm: Do not confront the individual or investigate the situation on your own.
  2. Observe and Document: Take note of any details, such as descriptions of individuals, vehicles, or items.
  3. Report Immediately: Contact local authorities or a non-emergency police line to report your observations.
  4. Secure Your Property: Ensure doors and windows are locked and security systems are active.

Resources and Contacts for Reporting

  • Local Police Departments: Most cities have dedicated non-emergency lines for reporting suspicious activities.
  • Neighborhood Watch Programs: Joining or starting a neighborhood watch can be an effective way to keep your community safe.
  • Online Platforms: Websites and apps like Nextdoor can be used to share information and stay updated on local incidents.

How to Get Involved in Community Watch Programs

  1. Attend Community Meetings: Engage with your neighbors and local authorities to discuss safety concerns.
  2. Volunteer: Offer your time to patrol your neighborhood or assist in organizing safety events.
  3. Stay Informed: Keep up with local news and alerts to remain aware of any potential threats.


Staying vigilant and informed is key to maintaining safety in your community. By recognizing suspicious signs and knowing how to respond, you can help protect yourself and your neighbors. Florida’s vibrant communities deserve to thrive without the shadow of crime and danger. Stay alert, report suspicious activities, and get involved in local safety initiatives to make a positive impact.

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MBS Staff
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