If you call
911 either due to a crime or to report suspicious activity or witness
information to the New Orleans Police Department, please use these guidelines.
It will get you better service, and give the police unit responding the
information they need in a timely manner.
1. Leave at least your first name and a
phone number where you can be reached. If you do not want police at your door,
please just say you will talk to officers by phone ONLY. They will honor that.
You may have further information you do not realize you have that is critical,
or information that the operator did not realize needed to be gathered on the
initial call. If you don’t leave a name and/or a callback number and there is
either a serious shortage of units at that time, or more serious violent crime
ongoing in the area, your call COULD be simply marked up as unfounded.
2. If the address you are calling about
is an apartment, MAKE SURE you give the apartment number to the operator, even
if you are not asked for it. Crucial time is wasted trying to locate apartments
or make callbacks to get apartment numbers. The same goes for any codes that
are needed to get into gated areas. Make
sure your children and anyone staying in your home knows all of this
information or that it is posted where they can read it off to a police
operator if needed.
3. If the area you are calling from has
a lack of posted addresses, or is not well lighted, if you are not endangering
yourself, be prepared to flag down responding units.
4. If you are calling in a medical
emergency, give as much information as you can about the victim/patient – age,
type of medical problem, clothing they are wearing, landmarks if not at a
5. Information that is generally NOT
reported to the police and should be when reporting the perpetrator of a crime,
or a suspicious person: detailed clothing description (long or short sleeves,
long or short pants, shirt color and distinguishing stripes or writing, type of
shoes and color), hair style (long, short, bald, dreads, curls, color, etc.),
direction they went, any tattoos, piercings, or scars that are visible.
6. Information that is needed when
reporting a hit-and-run vehicle or suspicious vehicle: make and model, as close
as possible to the year (is it older or newer model, shape of grill or
taillights), type of tires, any tinting on windows, any stripes, dents, or
missing chrome on the vehicle, any outstanding stickers, how many occupants if
you can tell, the direction taken.
7. While waiting for police units to
arrive, write down everything you remember, no matter how tiny and silly
8. If you are calling about drug dealing
in your area, attempt to observe where the drugs are being kept while remaining
safe – under a house, in a mailbox, in a vehicle, in a piece of clothing, etc.
This gives the police reasonable cause to look for the drugs. Make sure this
information is given to the operator on the initial call so that responding
units can act immediately.
9. If you are unfortunately the victim
of a crime, do NOT take the time to call your mother, brother, sister, father,
cousin, neighbor, or BFF. Call the police first. Time is of the essence. If the
crime is ongoing do NOT call someone else to call 911 for you! Call them
yourself even if you cannot stay on the phone. Give a brief description of what’s
going on, the location, and hang up.
10. FIRST AND FOREMOST – do NOT place
yourself in danger to gather any of this information. Make sure you and those
around you are safe first.
sound like an impossible amount of information to gather in the face of an
emergency. Train yourself NOW, before the emergency occurs, to be observant.
Practice describing in your mind vehicles around you at stop lights. Practice
taking in details when you pass people on the street. We humans do not use most
of our brain because we don’t train our brain to take in the information. This
is something you can do for free, In very little time, that may make the
difference in solving a crime or not.