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Vehicle Descriptions

When you see a vehicle that you determine to be suspicious, it is important to be able to accurately describe the vehicle. Once of the best ways to develop a good vehicle description is to use the “CYMBALS” approach. Each letter of the word ‘CYMBALS” is an important part of the description to report, however, it will be difficult to recognize all of this. Try to get as much information as you can, and don’t worry about what you can’t. Obviously, the plate number is important, but also remember that license plates are easily changed.

C is color. What is the color of the vehicle? This is a changeable detail, but will probably stay the same.

Y is year. This is the most difficult to know unless you know a lot about cars. However, try to recognize at least if it is a relatively new vehicle or an older model. If you know the exact year, great.

M stands for Make and Model. For example, “Ford Taurus” or “Chevrolet Corvette”. This detail won’t change.

B is Body Style. Is it a 4-door sedan, or a puck-up truck, or a van? If it is a pick up, is there a cover or a “camper” over the bed? The body style will not change.

A is for Additional Descriptors. Is there anything else that would make the vehicle stand out? For example, are there any particular stickers on the car? Is there any damage (dents, window cracks, etc.), rust? Anything else? These items may or may not change.

L is for License Plate Number. What is the number of the plate? This is changeable, but should be reported.

S is for State of the plate. Again, this is changeable, but should be reported.

Even the easily changeable details should be reported because it will take some time to change them. If a vehicle is driving around your neighborhood and you report a particular plate number, it will probably still have that plate on the car in the near future. Same thing goes for all the other changeable details.

Remember, if you report someone or something as suspicious, be able to articulate why they are suspicious, not just that you haven’t seen them before. Try to get as much information as you can, because “a blue, 1998 Ford Taurus 4-door sedan with a dent in the right back quarter panel and a cracked windshield, license plate TX 123ABC has been driving up and down the same street for the last half hour, and stopped in front of a couple of houses where the neighbors appear to be gone…” is much better than “a blue car on XXX street is suspicious.”

Call us: we can help. The threat is real…is your security?

Stay safe, Jason  

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