We often talk about victims of crime in our communities.  Though many times we may not be talking about witnesses.  

This post will cover some of the basics you should know when reporting a crime you have witnessed.


When reporting a crime by telephone, remain on the phone until the communications officer is fully briefed with all the information necessary to dispatch the appropriate response personnel to the scene.

If you see or suspect a crime is being committed, pay particular attention to the features of the offender(s) and any vehicles involved. Try to be prepared to provide at least the following about the offenders:

  1. Age, race, height, and weight;
  2. Hair color and style, any facial hair
  3. Notable characteristics (acne, scars, tattoos, glasses, etc.)
  4. Clothing description; (shoes are good identifiers as they cannot be changed quickly, any wording, distinctive colors, or logos)
  5. Location where last seen; (Give addresses whenever possible)  Intersections can be helpful if you don’t know the address but an address is best)
  6. Last known direction of travel;
  7. Vehicle description (color/make/model/year if possible), license plate, and distinctive markings. Any notable damage or missing items to the car (hubcaps missing, donut tire, temp tags, broken or missing parts on the car).

Witnesses who wish to remain anonymous may do so. It is more important that a response is dispatched as quickly as possible. 

These Crime Prevention Tips were initially posted on:  http://www.aacc.edu/publicsafety/prevention.cfm#witness