Civilians can play a large part in helping police to solve the criminal cases they deal with every day. In fact, without the help of ordinary citizens, many crimes would go unsolved. But in order to be of the most assistance, you have to know what to do when you witness a crime or are a victim of a crime.
Don’t Clean the Scene
If your home has been invaded or someone attempted to hijack your car, you should leave everything as it is until the police arrive. You might be tempted to clean up the mess to return a semblance of normalcy to your life, but you could help the criminal escape if you do that.
Do not try to vacuum up debris, as you could get rid of essential evidence. Robot vacuum cleaners can get rid of hair particles and other bits of DNA that could be useful in determining who the criminal is.
You should not pick up broken glass or wipe up blood either. The police need to be able to verify your account and piece the scene of the crime back together. They cannot do that if you have moved anything around.
As soon as you witness a crime or are affected by a crime, you should report it to the authorities. If you act fast, you will increase the chances that the criminal will be caught and the crime will be solved. Evidence can start to become less useful over time. And giving the perpetrator any time to escape or hide evidence can be detrimental to a just resolution.
Even though you may be frightened or may not want to discuss the occurrence with other people, it is necessary to talk to the police as soon as the crime occurs.
Even if the crime did not happen to you, you should still report suspicious activity and any disturbances you notice. Your report could corroborate evidence or back up the account of an innocent person. Police rely on the evidence brought forth by civilians as much as they do their own investigations. You could be a key part of solving a crime and ensuring that a criminal does not terrorize other people.
Community actions and participation in solving crime helps to strengthen the community. And it lets criminal know that they are not welcome in the area and that their actions will be reported. This can keep criminals out of your area and make it a safer place for everyone.