Suspicious Item vs Unattended Item: Security Guard Training.

As a security guard, don’t cause a panic by over-reporting an “unattended item” as a “suspicious item”.

Here’s a quick way to initially evaluate the item you’ve found so you can report it correctly.

I recommend the acronym H.O.T.

The “H”…

Is the item Hidden?

Usually, but not always, an item is more likely suspicious if it’s hidden.

A backpack on a bench is more of an unattended backpack than a suspicious backpack. (Still report unattended items!)

But notice how a backpack hidden under some bleachers is more suspicious.

The “O”…

Is the item Obviously suspicious?

The backpack on a park bench is an “unattended backpack”, but if it’s got wires sticking out of it leading to a cell phone it’s obviously suspicious!

The “T”…

Is the item Typically in the area?

A gas cylinder on a construction site is kind of typical. They’re used for welding and all sorts of construction task. So maybe it’s just an “unattended gas cylinder”.

But the same gas cylinder near the entrance to a public library is suspicious.


This is just a quick system for an initial evaluation on how to report an item you find. This is not the final determination of if an item is harmless or not!


Always report unattended items you find while working as a security guard even if you don’t initially believe them to be suspicious or dangerous.

Committed to your success,
Larry Kaye,
Private Investigator (Ret.) &
#1 Best Selling Author

P.S. – And, of course, don’t miss my special report titled… If You Want To be a Private Investigator Give Up… Unless You Do These Three Things. You can get it right here…

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