Have you ever had a crime committed against you such as your car broken into, your lawn mower stolen, lost your wallet or had your bicycle stolen and you were not sure if you should call the Police?
Do you call the Police to report the crime or just let it go? Am I obligated to call the Police? Can I just cut my losses, forget about it, move on and not get the Police involved?
These questions are very common for most people who have had a crime committed against them. Of course there are crimes that you truly should report just to protect yourself such as the loss of your wallet because there is a chance your identity could be stolen. Some say that if there is ‘no follow up or evidence then why waste your time and the time of the Police.
It’s my hope that this article will help clear any confusion and help you decide if you “Should or Shouldn’t file a Police Report”….consider these helpful tips:
HOW ARE POLICE REPORTS USED?
First of all, it’s important to know that Law Enforcement and the community must work together as a “Partnership” in order to sufficiently combat crime so, reporting crime helps the Police in many different ways.
If someone has committed a crime against you the best way to start action against that person is to file a “Preliminary” Police report. You file a Preliminary report by calling the Police to respond to your home or you can go to the Police station to speak with a Police Officer or Detective.
After the preliminary report is taken the report generates an investigation by a Police Detective who will follow up with you within a few days. The Detective will gather more details and evidence about the incident and then determine if there is enough evidence to file the case with the City Attorney’s Office.
Police Departments use Police reports to track crime. It’s really the only true way to know where crime is being committed. Picture for a moment a map of the surrounding area you live in. The Police use a tracking system that pin points all the crime that is reported and places a red dot on the map. In a short period of time it will become obvious to the Police where most of the crime is being committed and then Police resources will be directed to patrol more in that area.
Most Police Departments have a Crime Analyst who studies the crime maps and are able to recognize “crime patterns “and it becomes obvious where crimes will occur next. Once it is determined where the next crimes will occur all Police resources will be sent to those areas and deters crime before it happens.
Insurance / Tax purposes
You may not have any information or follow up about the suspect who committed the crime against you so you may want to make a Police report for Insurance or tax reasons only. Most Insurance Companies will require a Police report to begin a claim.
Ask your Tax man about any tax deduction you may be able to get due to the loss.
You are not required to file a Police Report
It is you civil right not to have to report a crime. Some will argue that you have a moral obligation to report a crime but you must decide. You do have a choice.
If you are truly unsure what to do it is advised that you call your local Police Department and discuss the matter with a professional Police Officer. You can simply explain your concern and then decide whether or not to file a report.
Some cases simply are not a Police matter or criminal in nature therefore you do not make a Police report. If you try then the Police will turn you away and explain to you that your case is civil.
Civil cases usually involve suing someone or getting a restraining order or attempting to solve your problem rationally with the other party involved.
If your car is involved in a ‘Hit and Run’ traffic accident and the damage is minor first check to see what your Insurance deductable is. If there is $500.00 dollars worth of damage and your deductable is a $1,000.00 dollars then there isn’t a need to file a report.
Crime is a major concern for all of us. As crime occurs and we become victims deciding whether or not to call the Police and make an official report is a choice.
You may want to think about how not reporting the crime will affect you or your neighborhood.
You also may want to think if it is worth the trouble or what the repercussions ‘of’ reporting the crime would be. Will the ramifications of reporting the crime be worth the hassle or the retaliation that may be taken upon you or will the time spent in court testifying against the perpetrator be worth your time.
* Never try to take the Law into your own hands.
* Be a good witness and use the system to fight your fight for you and let Justice prevail.
My Article also posted on Triond.com by Kaoss1, eHow.com by Kaoss and AssociatedContent.com by Scott Hallock