Suspicious or Purely Nervous? 5 behaviours to look out for

Whenever you spot someone who doesn’t appear to be where they should be, there is a hint of suspicion that you start to feel in your chest.

You will likely continue to monitor this stranger’s behaviors. Do they look nervous in an unusual way? Is there an indication that this person might be lost?

When you look at the comparison of suspiciousness vs. nervousness from a law enforcement perspective, the message is unmistakable: everyone is a suspect.

Courts around the world suggest that the definition of “reasonable suspicion” can include the following behaviors.

  • Travelling alone or with a companion.
  • People who appear to be overly nervous or remarkably calm.
  • Being the first or last person off of a flight, train, or ferry.
  • Booking a travel itinerary that includes a layover.
  • Appearing to blend in with a crowd of other people.

Anyone can appear nervous because they are in an unfamiliar environment. Everybody is also suspicious of anything that seems to be out of place in a public setting.

Is there a way you can actively tell the difference?

It Is a Combination of Factors That Highlights Suspicious Behavior

If you see someone walking by your house one day in a neighborhood where everyone knows each other, then that automatically increases the idea of suspicious behavior.

Just because you are suspicious of them does not mean that the person in question will try to do something criminal.

It means that you have spotted a situation that is potentially dangerous, so now you are going to start paying more attention to what is happening.

When multiple behaviors of nervousness come together, then you can have a reasonable suspicion of that person. If that individual continues walking away without additional actions, then you can usually breathe a deep sigh of relief.

What are the top behaviors that can turn someone who is merely nervous into someone who is suspicious?

#1. Inappropriate Clothing

If someone is wearing a heavy coat during a warm day, then this choice is one that leads to a higher level of suspicion. Any clothing items that are oversized, loose-fitting, or inappropriate for the weather offer this potential as well.

#2. Hands in Pockets

Someone who walks with their hands in any pockets the entire time may be acting suspiciously. This observation applies to pants or sweatshirt pockets.

Cupping the hands in a way that makes it seem like the individual is hiding something other than a smartphone will also create this impression.

#3. Overly Nervous Behaviors

If an individual finds themselves lost or in a place where they feel uncomfortable, then they will feel an intense nervousness. You may see them glancing around to see if anyone is watching them. Some people stare forward constantly in this situation. There may be moments of muttering that you hear. These behaviors can all be normal.

If you see these behaviors with others listed here, however, then there is a rightful conclusion that the individual you are watching is acting suspiciously.

#4. Favoring One Side

Some people prefer one side of their body because that is where they keep a weapon, self-defense device, or something that they don’t want others to see. Common places of storage include the ankle, waistband, and hip. Watch to see if they keep making adjustments to these areas. You might even see a bulge where the item is stored.

#5. Patting

Did you know that when someone wears a suicide vest that they constantly pat it to reassure themselves that it is on? This behavior extends to whatever an individual believes is essential to them at that moment. Men frequently pat the pocket where they keep their wallet to ensure it is there. If someone is carrying an item they intend to use in a suspicious manner, then they will unconsciously tap it as well.

Is There a Way to Know for Sure If Someone is Suspicious?

The behaviors which we can see when someone is nervous are the same as what becomes evident when they act suspiciously. Unless you confront the individual (in a safe manner), there may not be a definitive way to tell what their intent is.

If you see multiple behaviors that occur frequently, then you have a case of reasonable suspicion to consider.

Stay safe out there.