Why It’s Wise to Report Crime (Even If The Cops Don’t Come)

Police Telephone

In response to last week’s Crime Summary post, Reader Bethany posted this comment:

My car was broken into on Cortland and Eugenia (including a smashed window) a few months ago. Even though I filed a police report, I received no follow up.

Ack. So sorry. But this raises a super-important issue. During several conversations I’ve had over the last few months with members of the SFPD, the officers have emphasized one point over and over again: Whenever you are the victim of a minor crime or witness a public nuisance, you should report it by calling the non-emergency line at 415-553-0123.

That doesn’t mean the SFPD will send someone out to investigate every time. But given the prevalence of data-driven crimefighting and resource-allocation techniques in contemporary policework, it’s crucial to report any and all incidents when (and where) they occur so that the SFPD can monitor crime trends and take steps to respond to them.

Admittedly, the lack of immediate action is deeply unsatisfying if your window just got smashed or your succulents were just ripped from your front yard. However, that’s the only way to ensure that the police will take steps to prevent such crimes in the future — whether that means increasing patrols, sending out decoys, releasing the bloodhounds, or whetever. Because if you don’t report the crime, as far as the SFPD is concerned, it never happened at all — and nothing good comes from that.

So add these numbers to your contact list:

SFPD Non-Emergency Dispatch: 415-553-0123

SFPD Emergency Dispatch from your mobile phone*: 415-553-8090

* 911 calls from mobile phones are automatically routed to the California Highway Patrol, rather than the SFPD, which can delay emergency response. That’s why it’s important to have this number in your mobile contact list.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

7 thoughts on “Why It’s Wise to Report Crime (Even If The Cops Don’t Come)

  1. Thanks for the info. My car was broken into last Fall (welcome to San Francisco!) and I did call the police and made a report. Interestingly, I called the non-emergency number and they told me to call 911 which then routed me to a non-emergency operator. It felt a little weird calling 911 to just report a car break-in.

  2. You can also just do it online! Convenience and no expectation of follow-up, since locals know… why even try…

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