Filing a police report can seem simple to some, but you may not know the process if you haven’t had much involvement with law enforcement. It’s relatively simple but can slip your mind when dealing with the aftermath of the crime.
Blackman Bail Bonds wants to help you understand how to file a police report in Pennsylvania.
How to File a Police Report
In general, the state of Pennsylvania has a simple police report process. The forms may change by municipal jurisdiction and whether you’re filing with city, county, or state police. If an officer is on the crime scene, because of a car accident for example, a police report will be filed automatically. However, if you’re the victim of property damage or another incident with no immediate police involvement, you’ll need to file your report with the department.
Call the Local Police Department
When you see a crime in progress, or other emergencies, dial 911. The dispatch team will send the closest police units and send other first responders if needed. If it’s not deemed an emergency, they’ll give you the directions to file the report on your own.
If the criminal activity has passed, and there is no danger, call the Non-emergency number for your county. The Pennsylvania State Police non-emergency number is 717-783-5599 and is open from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m every day.
Even small situations may need police reports. If you’re claiming damages for auto or home insurance, you’ll need to present the insurance company with the police incident or report number or submit a copy of the file.
Follow Up with the Right Department
If you need to contact a specific station, you can find the phone numbers in the Pennsylvania State Police station directory. There you’ll find all of the associated offices to speak with a particular trooper, make a complaint or a compliment, request video or audio recordings of a situation, and more.
What Will You be Asked for When You File a Police Report
When you see that a crime has happened, such as a break-in, or property damage, document the damage without moving anything. Take photos on your smartphone and upload them to a cloud file that can later be shared with officers.
In cases like a car accident, make sure the people involved are ok, and if they’re not, immediately call 911. While you’re waiting for first responders, document the scene. If you’re trained to provide first aid, do so, but only as far as your knowledge levels allow.
When you file the report, you’ll need to provide a few critical pieces of information, such as:
- Address where the incident occurred
- How many were involved (if you know)?
- Are there any injuries?
- Insurance and license numbers of all involved (if a car accident)
- What kind of incident
- Time of incident
- Details of the environment when the incident occurred
There may be more details needed, depending on the type and severity of the incident. The better you’re able to document the damages, the more accurate the police report will be.
Further, when you’re able to fully document the incident aftermath, you’ll spend less time negotiating with insurance companies and more time getting back to everyday life.
What if You’re Arrested in the Process?
If the incident involves your arrest or the arrest of someone you know, you can work with a bail bonds agency, like Blackman Bail Bonds, to secure your release until the court date. You’ll be able to return to work and keep your life mostly normal while you work through the legal system process.
Your lawyer will need a copy of whatever police reports were filed and any additional information you can provide. That’s easier to do when you’re not behind bars. Give us a call, or coordinate with your lawyer.