What to do if you Witness or are a Victim of a Crime

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Park Slope Parents outlines the steps you need to take... 

In this section:

If something happens to YOU

If YOU see something happening

Important Numbers 

 

IF SOMETHING HAPPENS TO YOU

 

 FIND A SAFE PLACE AND CALL 911 IMMEDIATELY
Don't wait til you get to work, or til you get home-- do it as soon as possible!  (This includes a recent theft where you are not left in danger-- if there is a chance to catch the perp, let's make that happen!)  Note the address or street intersection. Note and, if possible, write down characteristics (weight/height/race/beard/scars/tattoos/hair color/vehicle color/license plate, clothing).

 

WHEN ASKING FOR HELP, PHYSICALLY POINT TO PEOPLE AND GIVE THEM INSTRUCTIONS.
If you need assistance from others, no matter if you're the victim or a bystander, someone needs to take control and give orders.If you just yell to "everyone around", you get exactly what the victim said happened, people in shock and unable to act.  Some examples include

  • “Hey—you in the white shirt, call 9-11.” 
  • “You and you—“follow the perpetrators” (keeping a safe distance)
  • “You, hold up traffic (if necessary in a car/bike accident).
  • Other tasks include:  Keeping an eye out for emergency respondents and get their attention to where aid is needed, getting ice if necessary, moving the crowd to a safe distance, etc. 

 

 

IF YOU ARE WITNESS AN EVENT:

 

HELP OTHERS.
Offer any first aid if there are injuries, being careful to not move people who may have severe injuries. Take a 1st Aid/CPR Class NOW so you can be prepared and feel more confident that you can help.

 

PHYSICALLY POINT TO PEOPLE AND GIVE THEM INSTRUCTIONS.
If you need assistance from others, no matter if you're the victim or a bystander, someone needs to take control and give orders.If you just yell to "everyone around", you get exactly what the victim said happened, people in shock and unable to act.  Some examples include

  • “Hey—you in the white shirt, call 9-11.” 
  • “You and you—“follow the perpetrators” (keeping a safe distance)
  • “You, hold up traffic (if necessary in a car/bike accident).
  • Other tasks include:  Keeping an eye out for emergency respondents and get their attention to where aid is needed, getting ice if necessary, moving the crowd to a safe distance, etc. 

 

CALL FOR HELP:
Call 911 to report the crime. It’s fine if more than one person calls 911; better for more people to call than assume someone did. 

 

REMINDERS in placing the 911 call:

Let the operator control the conversation. 911 operators know what questions to ask and have protocols that will help dispatch the police as quickly as possible. Let people around you know you’ve called 911 (once you get through). This will save the lines being jammed up for other emergencies. Stay on the line until the police arrive OR until the operator tells you that it’s okay to hang up. Stay calm and concentrate on relating important details that will be most helpful to police. Include the following:

  • Type of crime (automobile theft, assault, etc.)
  • Time of the crime
  • Exact location of the crime (street address and cross streets.)
  • Injuries or damage.
  • Description of suspects (height; build; color of eyes, hair and skin; teeth/dental features; clothing and disguises; special marks or unusual features such as scars and tattoos)
  • Description of weapons, tools or vehicles involved (make, model, color and license plate).
  • Description of property or person(s) being subjected to criminal activity.
  • The number of the cell phone you are calling from.

 

LEAVE THINGS AS THEY ARE.
Moving or touching things could contaminate critical evidence.

 

BE ATTENTIVE AND KEEP WATCH.
Look around and try to notice what people look like so you can describe them later. If the perpetrator leaves before police arrive, be able to tell where he/she went (east/west, through a back yard) and mode of transport (on foot, bike, car) goes so you can tell the police when they arrive. If you can take a photo without putting your personal safety at risk, do so. Be sure to write down anything you remember while it’s fresh in your mind. If there are multiple suspects listen to hear if they mention each other by name.

 

WAIT FOR POLICE TO ARRIVE.
Don’t talk to other people about what they saw so that your memories stay intact.

 

BE MINDFUL OF YOUR OWN SAFETY.
Stay calm and try to get police assistance to the victim as soon as possible. The golden rule continues to be: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.

Helping another person makes the whole community stronger. Think of it this way-- if you were a victim in a similar situation I’m sure you would like to have help. Be the help you’d like to have in the same situation.

 

IMPORTANT NUMBERS

Emergency Situations: Call 911   Don't wait til you get to work, or til you get home-- do it as soon as possible!
(This includes a recent theft where you are not left in danger-- if there is a chance to catch the perp, let's make that happen!)

If you have information regarding a crime: call Crime Stoppers 1 800 577-TIPS

Non-Emergencies: Call 311.  To report a non-emergency situation, call the 78th Precinct 718 636-6411
(If you are reporting it when it's not an emergency you'll need to go to the police station to file a report. For the sake of the community-- FILE A REPORT!)

If you are sexually assaulted call Safe Horizon at 212 777- 7777 for support.

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More useful reading on Park Slope Parents:

Staying Safe On The Streets: Precautions Against Rape and Mugging

Tips for Personal Property Safety from the NYPD and PSP