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Steps to Take if You're a Witness or Victim of a Crime

Authorities share information on how to be a good witness and how to reduce your chance of becoming a victim of crimes of opportunity.

A press release from Newark Police:

Becoming a victim and/or witnessing a crime can be a traumatic experience. Should you become an unexpected victim or witness of a crime, you should immediately call 9-1-1. While you are waiting for the police to arrive and/or dispatch to ask you questions, try and write down or mentally take note of everything you remember about the suspect and the event.

In the event you don’t have a pen, you could also use your smart phone. Many phones have text and note features and some even have voice recorders. If you don't have a phone, find a stick, rock or piece of tanbark and draw in the dirt. All of these tools can be helpful when police arrive.

Everything you can remember is important for the identification and apprehension of the suspect(s). Here are a few questions police will ask you:

  • What is the suspect(s) description? Height, weight, build and the color/style of hair are all very helpful.
  • What color and type of clothing and shoes was he/she wearing?
  • Were there any unusual scars, tattoos, or logos on the suspect(s) clothing or hat?
  • Have you ever seen this suspect before?
  • Was there a vehicle involved? (color, make and model)?
  • Do you remember any part or all of the license plate? (This is when that pen, phone, stick, rock or tanbark will come in extremely valuable to police!)
  • Did the car have any damage and/or special markings?
  • Which direction did the suspect flee?
  • What exactly did the suspect(s) say prior to, during or after the incident?
  • What exactly happened, step-by-step.
  • Are there any witnesses in the area that could help with describing what occurred?
  • Do you remember anything seeing anything suspicious before the incident occurred?

You can reduce your chance of becoming a victim by taking the following steps:

  1. Don’t walk alone.
  2. Always walk confidently, directly and at a steady pace.
  3. Walk facing traffic when possible.
  4. Walk in busy, non-isolated areas where people are coming and going.
  5. Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times.
  6. Don’t present yourself as a target. Leave your expensive jewelry and watches at home.
  7. If you’re out after dark, make sure you travel in well lighted areas.
  8. Trust your instincts and when possible avoid groups of suspicious people walking towards you.
  9. If you feel you are being followed, head to an occupied house or business.
  10. Share these tips with your friends and family.

Be safe and always report suspicious non-urgent activity to the at 510-578-4237. If you believe that you are witnessing a crime, dial 9-1-1.

Information provided by our friends at the Fremont PD.

Mike Sevigny August 08, 2012 at 05:39 PM
It would be helpful if this article could be printed correctly.

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