Reporting a Crime
How to Report a Crime
- Call the police.
- Identify yourself by your name, address, and telephone number.
- Give the exact location of the incident.
- Report the information.
- Stay on the line with the communications dispatcher until they have gotten all the information.
Reminders for Reporters
When reporting a crime, please keep the following in mind:
- Do not confront the situations yourself. Wait for the police to arrive.
- Remember emergency calls get first priority, all other calls are on a lower priority basis.
Indicators of a Crime
- Anyone being forced into a vehicle
- Apparent business transactions conducted from a vehicle
- Apparent drug trafficking
- Burglaries, robberies, thefts, auto-break-ins in progress
- Cars, vans, or trucks moving slowly and without lights with no apparent destination, or repeating the same action
- Open or broken doors or windows to a home or business
- A person exhibiting unusual mental or physical symptoms
- A person running, especially if carrying something of value
- Persons making a quick change of vehicles
- Property being taken out of closed businesses or houses where nobody is at home
- Someone in need of medical attention
- Someone looking into windows of homes or parked cars
- Someone screaming or shouting for help
- A stranger sitting in a car stopping to talk to a child, etc.
- Unusual noises
Describing a Person
When reporting a suspicious person if possible write down the following:
- Any peculiar or distinguishable mannerisms, physical disabilities, disfigurations, scars or tattoos
- Direction of movement
- Facial Hair (beard/mustache)
- Hair (color and length)
- Height (estimated from eye contact level measured against your height)
- Voice characteristics
Describing a Vehicle
When reporting a suspicious vehicle, write down the following:
- Color, and approximate age of the vehicle
- Direction of travel
- If possible, a description of the driver
- If possible, the total number of persons inside the vehicle
- Make and type of vehicle
- Special designs or unusual features, such as:
- Body damage
- Vinyl top
- Vehicle license number and state
Section 22-11-9. False Reporting to Authorities as Misdemeanor
Any person who:
- Except as provided in Section 22-11-9.2, knowingly causes a false fire or other emergency alarm to be transmitted to, or within, any fire department, ambulance service or other government agency which deals with emergencies involving danger to life or property
- Makes a report or intentionally causes the transmission of a report to law enforcement authorities of a crime or other incident within their official concern, when he knows that it did not occur
- Makes a report or intentionally causes the transmission of a report to law enforcement authorities which furnishes information relating to an offense or other incident within their official concern, when he knows that such information is false
is guilty of false reporting to authorities. False reporting to authorities is a Class 1 misdemeanor.
Source: SL 1975, chapter 171, sections 1, 2; South Dakota Combined Law Support, section 22-13-16; SL 1976, chapter 158, section 11.