Monday, December 8, 2014

Making Effective Police Reports

From Lt. Scott Timmons:

There have been some issues raised about police reports and I'd like to take a moment to address them.


               First: If you see a crime occurring right now, call 911. This is exactly what 911 is for. Don't send me an email about the crime, or send an email to the rest of your group, call 911. This would include when you notice a suspicious car or person in your neighborhood. If they don't belong and you think they are up to no good, call 911. I am not at my computer all day and night, waiting to spring into action when you send me a message. I have the primary task of supervising all the NorthWest Property Crimes Detectives and their investigations as well as numerous other duties. The 911 center is, however, full of people who are sitting at their computer waiting to take your call and get you the help you need.


Secondly, on a similar note, although I include my office phone number on these emails, please don't use that to call in a need for a police car to come to you. As above, I'm not always in my office and therefore I may not get your message in a timely manner. Call 911.


Third, we have a misdemeanor report line set up to try to relieve some of the pressure from the 911 Call Center. This is designed to allow officers who are injured in some way and not able to work the street to take your report by telephone, thereby saving you time and relieving some pressure on the 911 Center. This system (501-918-3585) operates during normal business hours, Monday thru Friday. If you call and they are on the other line, voicemail will pick up. At that point, if you are calling to make a misdemeanor police report, leave your name and number and someone will call back in a few minutes to take the report. If you are calling about something that is happening right then, call 911.


Onto crime news:


This is the season for stealing and we are seeing an increase in purse/wallet/billfold thefts. Typically, you are in a store Christmas shopping and you step away from your cart for a moment to look at something, check a size, etc., and when you turn back your purse is gone. Frequently, the thieves will try to use your credit or debit cards very quickly to buy items. One of the most popular uses is to go to Walmart and buy gift cards which are just like cash then for other purchases. (Interestingly, Walmart tells us they cannot track gift cards to tell us when they are used subsequently or turn the gift cards off to prevent the thieves from realizing profits from the theft.) If your purse is stolen, you will want to notify your banks and issuing agencies about the theft as soon as possible. There are services that will list all of your credit cards and will notify them for you when they are stolen. The advantage here is that you only make two phone calls (the police and the notification service).


We are also seeing numerous vehicles stolen, when someone starts their car to warm up, and then goes back in the house leaving the car running. We see groups of young men who drive around till they find a car running without anyone in it, then they drop off one person who takes the car and hides it elsewhere for use in future crimes. In the meantime, the bad guys keep driving, looking for more cars to steal. After they are done, they pick up the friends at the hiding spot. These hiding spots are typically apartment complex parking lots where people come and go all the time and the cars won't be noticed for a while. The cars are then later used to commit burglaries, robberies, or other crimes. The moral of this story is, when your car is running, don't leave it unattended.


Be Safe,


Lt. Scott Timmons

Special Assignments Lt.

Northwest Division

Little Rock Police