How to Report a CrimeTo report a fire, a medical emergency, or a crime in progress, call 9-1-1!
Before you call, gather all the facts that you can, and then write them down so that you will not forget them. Take a second look; a minute gathering more complete information may be worth the delay. A tag number is great, if you can spot it, and a report that the vehicle had a ladder on top or a dented left fender is more useful than simply describing the vehicle as a “white van.” You want to be able to answer the usual who, what, where, when and how questions, or as many of these as you can.
When calling in a crime or emergency, take your time and speak clearly and concisely. There are five 9-1-1 centers in Miami-Dade County, and your call will be routed to the one serving the area from which you are calling.
Determining Priority: When you call to report an incident, the complaint officer will ask you whether you have a true emergency. If you are reporting a fire, a medical emergency, or a crime in progress, the answer is “Yes.” If you are simply reporting a “suspicious person” or a vehicle that seems to be cruising in the area and does not look right, the answer is “No.” They will handle your report, but will respond to the emergency calls first.
Stay on the Line: The complaint officer will ask you a number of questions which are necessary prior to sending a police officer. Be patient and provide whatever information is requested.
To Report a Non-Emergency: If you are in the unincorporated areas of Miami-Dade County, call (305) 4 – POLICE (305-476-5423).
Notify Park Personnel: When the time is available, make sure to notify the park office or the nearest park employee of the incident.
If you are reporting a suspicious vehicle or person, or a vehicle was broken into and the suspects fled the area, you are in fact dealing with a crime that may be committed in the future or a crime that has already been committed. These are not Crimes in Progress, do not call ‘9-1-1’. Call (305) 4-POLICE for these types of incidents.
Trust Your Instincts: You know when something doesn’t look right. You may not know why, but somehow it is out of character and arouses your suspicion. Call it in! The police would rather respond to nine false alarms than miss the tenth one, which is real.
How to Describe a Person
Depending on the situation and considering your personal safety, take a good look at the suspect, so that you will be better able to describe the suspect later. Here are some of the things to look for and to report upon:
Sex, Race, Complexion, Age
Height(estimate in 2 inch blocks; for example 5’8” and 5’10”)
Weight (estimate in blocks of 10 pounds, for example 130 to 140 pounds)
Build – large, medium, small, stocky, fat, slender, or thin, plus any distinguishing features on parts of the body (tattoos, eyeglasses, etc.)
Hair – color, think or thin, balding or full, sideburns
Mustache or beard – describe including color
Clothing – type, color, style (start at top and work down: hat, coat shirt, pants, shoes)
Method of escape
Example: Male, white, approximately 45 years old, between 5 foot 6 and 5 foot 8, 150 – 160 pounds, medium build, gray hair, and long sideburns. Wearing a blue baseball cap, no coat, white shirt, dark pants and sneakers. Escaped at 1st Street and Meridian Avenue and headed toward the Flamingo Park area.
How to Describe a Vehicle
It is also important to be attentive to the details of vehicles. Try to make note of the following features and report them:
Color, make, and year
Body type – sedan, two-door, convertible, station wagon
License number (specific state)
Other identification – exterior attachments, damage, bumper stickers, window decals, etc.
Example: A black, late model Plymouth, four-door sedan, Florida license number ABC 333, large dent on rear passenger door, and Florida Marlins decal on rear window.
The guidelines above are primarily for stationary vehicles. On occasion, you may have to describe moving vehicles, perhaps escaping from the scene of an incident. Try to note the following:
Color, make, year, and Tag (as above)
Direction of Travel
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