This article explains how to report a crime to law enforcement or government agencies. It covers everything from reporting a crime in your local neighborhood to informing the authorities of criminal behavior online.
How to Report a Crime to the Police
If you witness a crime or know it happened, you have a civic responsibility to report that crime to the police. In most situations, your best option is to call 911, especially if it is urgent. 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 dispatcher’s instructions. They are trained on what to do in most situations. This can help 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.
See also: Text Message to 911
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 cybercrime. The Internet Crime Complaint Center gives the victims of cybercrime a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of suspected criminal violations or civil violations.
The Internet Crime Complaint Center provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet-related crimes for law enforcement and regulatory agencies at the federal, state, local, and international levels.
Submit a Crime Tip to the FBI
Use the FBI Crime 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 the FBI receives, they cannot reply to every submission.
Submit a Crime Tip – WeTip is an independent, non-profit organization in continuous operation since 1972. WeTip was founded on a key idea: many people with information about the crime are reluctant to report it due to fear of reprisal. WeTip is the answer to that concern.
Questions and Comments
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