Imagine this…

You walk to you car in the morning to go to work.

As you open the door, you notice that one of your windows has been shattered and things in your car are scattered about.

You aren’t worried about anything valuable missing because you read and know not to keep valuable things in your car.

You then call 911 and the Police quickly arrive 2 hours later.

You tell the Police what happened and they convince you that a report is unnecessary right before driving away.

A police report number is generally needed if you’re making an insurance claim.

What if something had been stolen from your car?

That “unnecessary” report might have made the police aware of a particular crime pattern or trend in your neighborhood.

Reports don’t seem so unnecessary anymore, do they?

There are much more serious crimes where Police Officers try to convince you a report is unnecessary.

Let’s take a look at some common reports that the Police avoid from taking.

1. Complaint Report
A complaint report is a general report that is completed for most crimes or incidents that occur. Complaint reports can be completed in addition to any of the other reports that are listed. Common crimes or incidents that require complaint reports are…

Lost or stolen property
The Police generally ask if you have insurance regarding property crimes. Whether you answer yes or no the Police have an answer to avoid taking a report.

If you do have insurance and answer yes the Police will tell you “Well there’s no need for a report then. Notify your insurance company and they’ll reimburse you.”

Assuming that was the case, almost all insurance companies require a police report number if you’re making a claim related to a crime. This means that you would need the Police to spend an entire three minutes and take a report for you.

Fights, assaults and harassment
If you happen to get into a fight with someone the police will generally look for two things:

1. How you know the person

2. If either of you has visible injuries

If you don’t know the person and they aren’t there when the Police arrive they’ll usually say “The report would say you got into a fight with an unknown person. It won’t go anywhere”

Aggravated harassment
Aggravated harassment is when anyone repeatedly annoys and alarms you by repeatedly contacting you through some type of electronic means such as email, text message, phone call, etc. If you were getting repeated phone calls from an unblocked number the Police would most likely say “You don’t need a report. Have the phone company block that number. Or just change your phone number.” Some phone companies won’t block a number unless you provide them with some type of police report.

2. Police Accident Report (Car Accident Report)
This is the most popular report that the police will try to convince you is unnecessary. This is mainly due to accidents being unpleasant jobs for Police Officers to show up to. The Police will generally give you two options and say “Would you like a report or would you like to settle this amongst yourselves? If we take a report, both of your car insurance rates will go up.” Keep in mind, if your car is involved in an accident, regardless if you’re at fault, your insurance rate will go up (unless your car was legally parked).  The way it works is that if one person wants a report, it will should be taken.

Another common situation is when you walk to your car in the morning and see that someone has sideswiped the entire driver side. This is known as a hit and run. Sometimes this happens while you’re driving and the other car will quickly leave the scene. In either case the Police will ask “Do you have the license plate of the car that hit you?”

If you say no they’ll respond with “If we did take a report, it would say an unknown vehicle hit your car and left the scene. There’s no need for a report.”

Now even if you DID somehow manage to get the entire license plate number from the car that hit you the Police might say “We can take a report but nothing will happen to the other driver. No one follows up on these types of reports.”

While that may be true, have them take the report any way. You’ll need it for your insurance company.

3. Missing Person Report
A common myth everyone believes is that someone has to be missing for 24 hours before the Police can take a report.

Let’s say a father sends his eight year old son down the block to buy some milk. An hour later, the father starts looking for his son and can’t find him anywhere. Do you really think he has to wait another 23 hours before the police can take a report for him?

Absolutely not.

There’s no time limit when it comes to missing person reports. Don’t let the Police say, “They haven’t been missing for 24 hours. We can’t take a report right now.” I’ll explain how to ask for a report later in this post.

4. Domestic incident report
This is a report that’s taken when there’s any type of incident involving your family member, spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend or anyone you’ve ever had a sexual relationship with. This report is different from the others listed because you get a copy of this report as soon as the Officer is finished filling it out. The Police won’t really say anything specific to avoid this report. They may dumb down whatever incident took place and make it seem like a small argument that happens between two people all the time. Police may sometimes take a general complaint report instead of a domestic incident report. They get away with this by not mentioning the relationship between the people involved in the report. Make sure you make your relationship to other people involved clear to the Police and ask for a copy of the domestic incident report.

You should use your best judgment when it comes to police reports. Sometimes it’s better not to ask for one and others times it’s absolutely necessary. If you would like a police report you should say “Officer, I’d like to file a report if that’s possible.” The Police can and do refuse to take reports for people that demand them in a rude manner. If the Police do take your report, politely ask for the Officer’s name, badge number and phone number to the precinct. Officers will sometimes lose reports or forget to turn them in. They’ll be less likely to do this if they’ve given their name and badge number. If the Police do try and avoid taking a report for you, don’t be afraid to politely ask for one more than once. Filling out reports is a large part of a Police Officer’s job. There’s no reason for them to avoid a report when it comes to your safety and well being.