After 9/11, the government began encouraging local police, private security and everyday Americans to report so-called “suspicious activity” that may indicate a security threat. More than 15,000 reports are already compiled in one database that can be searched nationwide by law enforcement authorities. Taking photos of landmarks, walking “nervously” and writing in a notebook are all activities that have led to people being stopped and questioned. Could you be next?

Directed and produced by Carrie Ching

Reporting and research by G.W. Schulz, Andrew Becker, Tia Ghose, Daniel Zwerdling, Margot Williams
 
Illustration and animation by Arthur Jones
 
Music by Lukasz Stasinski and Erik Haddad
 
Have you been stopped for engaging in “suspicious” activity? The Center for Investigative Reporting wants to hear from you: http://publicinsightnetwork.org/form/center-for-investigative-reporting/1efa0f1f3447/homeland-security
 
 

Carrie Ching

Carrie Ching is an award-winning, independent multimedia journalist and producer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. For six years, she led digital storytelling projects at the Center for Investigative Reporting as senior multimedia producer. Her multimedia reports have been featured by NPR.org, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Grist, Time.com, Fast Company, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, KQED, PBS NewsHour, Salon.com, Mother Jones, Public Radio International, Poynter, Columbia Journalism Review and many other publications. Her specialty is crafting digital narratives and exploring ways to use video, audio, photography, animation and interactive graphics to push the boundaries of storytelling on the Web, tablets and mobile. Her work has been honored with awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Investigative Reporters and Editors, Best of the West, the Online News Association, Scripps Howard, The Gracies, and was part of the entry in a Pulitzer-finalist project. Prior to her time at CIR she was a magazine and book editor, video journalist, newspaper reporter and TV comedy scriptwriter. She was on the 2010 Eddie Adams Workshop faculty as a multimedia producer working with MediaStorm to teach digital storytelling techniques to photojournalists. She completed a master’s degree in journalism at UC Berkeley in 2005.

Arthur Jones

Arthur Jones is an illustrator, graphic designer, writer and animator. In addition to the Center for Investigative Reporting, he has done design work for NPR’s “This American Life,” animations for “Yo Gabba Gabba!” and graphic design at The New York Times. His book, “Post-it Note Diaries: 20 Stories of Youthful Abandon, Embarrassing Mishaps, and Everyday Adventure,” was published in October 2011. Arthur is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, and his work can be seen at byarthurjones.com.