09 Feb How to Report a Crime in California
It doesn’t matter if you’re the victim of a crime or if you have seen a crime take place. You should always report the situation to the police. Here’s how to go about doing just that.
Don’t try to take matters into your own hands. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is attempting to stop a crime that’s in progress. While it’s commendable that you want to do something about the situation, the odds of you getting hurt are extremely high. Stopping a crime that’s in progress isn’t worth jeopardizing your safety. When you witness a crime taking place that isn’t jeopardizing anyone’s actual health safety, don’t get involved. Simply report the situation to the police and let them handle it.
When you see a crime taking place, the first thing you need to do is get yourself to a safe place. Once you’ve addressed your personal safety, pull out your cell phone and contact 911. Explain what is happening. The 911 operator will advise you on the best way to protect yourself and also put you into contact with the police.
When the police reach out to you, give them as much information as you can. The more accurate you are about times and locations, the better the chances are that the prosecution will put together a successful case that will end with the criminal getting convicted.
Follow the police’s advice to the letter. If they want to speak to you in person right away, they will advise you on where to wait for them. If they want you to come to the police station and file a report, they will tell you which station to go to and whom to speak with.
It’s important that your memory of the incident remains clear. It doesn’t take much time for a memory to shift or fade, so it’s not a bad idea to grab a piece of paper and write down everything you remember about what you’ve witnessed. This includes a detailed description of the person/people who committed the crime.
If an arrest is made and the case goes to court, you’ll be called on to testify. The prosecutor that’s handling the case will provide you with the information you need to be a reliable witness while on the stand.
Have you ever witnessed a crime and had to report it? How did you handle the situation?