How to Report a Crime

How to Report a Crime
Learn how to report criminal activity to the proper authorities.

This article explains how to report a crime to law enforcement or other government agency. It covers everything from reporting a crime in you local neighborhood, to informing the authorities of criminal behavior on the internet.

How to Report a Crime to the Police

If you witness a crime, or are aware that one happened, you have a civic responsibility to report that crime to the police. For most situations, your best option is to call 911, especially if it is an urgent matter. Calling 911 is the best way to get a quick response from the police and other emergency responders. Here are the steps you should follow:

  • Dial 911 from any phone, including mobile devices
  • An emergency dispatcher will answer the call
  • Once you are connected, remain calm and describe the reason you are calling
  • Provide the dispatcher with as much information as possible. Include such information as the location of the incident, who’s involved, possible injuries, etc.
  • Follow the dispatchers instructions. They are trained on what to do in most situations. This can help you diffuse a dangerous situation, or give medical attention to an injured person.
  • Remain on the line until the dispatcher tells you to disconnect. Call back if you need to.
  • If you accidentally call 911, remain on the line and explain that it was an accidental call. Calling 911 and hanging up is treated as a distress signal. Police are likely to show up at your door if you do this.
  • After you disconnect, perform the instructions given by the dispatcher and wait for the police or other emergency responders to arrive on the scene.
  • If possible, capture video or photos of the scene, but don’t interfere in any way.

How to Report Internet Crime

Report crimes that happen on the internet to the Internet Crime Complaint Center ( The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA).

The Internet Crime Complaint Center serves as a vehicle to receive, develop, and refer criminal complaints regarding the rapidly expanding arena of cyber crime. The Internet Crime Complaint Center gives the victims of cyber crime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal violations or civil violations.

For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local and international level, The Internet Crime Complaint Center provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes.

Submit a Crime Tip to the FBI – Use the FBI tips website to report suspected terrorism or criminal activity. Your information will be reviewed promptly by an FBI special agent or a professional staff member. Due to the high volume of information that we receive, we are unable to reply to every submission; however, we appreciate the information that you have provided.

FBI Crime Tips – Use the FBI Crime Tips website to submit information about those who are committing crimes.

Submit a Crime Tip – WeTip is an independent, non-profit organization that has been in continual operation since 1972. WeTip was founded on a key idea, this idea, many people with information about crime, are reluctant to report it, due to fear of reprisal. WeTip is the answer to that concern.

If you have any questions about how to report a crime, or submit a crime tip, please post a message below.


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