These are four (4) ways by which citizens can report crimes to the Police.
By Phone Call
a) Phone Call:
Most citizens in Nigeria today have cell phones and can send text messages or SMS. The Nigerian Police has dedicated phone lines which citizens can call to report crimes. The phone call is the fastest way to report a crime to the Nigerian Police.
If you are calling a Police number to report a crime, you must start by identifying yourself, what you do and where you are located because there is no way the Police officer taking your call can tell your name, occupation and location if you don’t tell him.
Although you can place an anonymous call, don’t forget that your number and the location of your call can ultimately be found out through the network as these are contained in the Registration Certificate of your mobile numbers, when you purchased your SIM.
Once you have supplied your Name, Occupation and Location, go straight and tell the Police officer the nature of the crime. Be specific. Is it a robbery, burglary or rape? You may be asked for the street number in your location or a landmark, signpost, familiar sight or for ease of identification.
b) By Text Message or SMS:
A text message or Short Message Service (SMS) is a brief write up about the crime, the location and the name of the person reporting it. It is usually sent from a mobile device which has a network and at a price, to the police.
Don’t also forget that unless you identify yourself, the Police officer reacting to your SMS may not be able to call you back to ask for details about a crime. The Police Officer receiving an SMS may also know that you are in a panic situation, if it is an ongoing incident; so your brevity matters.
Be specific and direct: There is a robbery at Osagiede St, Off Airport Road, Near Taco Plaza, Shooting – Osato
c) By Email:
The mobile device which many citizens carry about these days has internet facilities provided by the Network. However for you to send an email you need to have an email address and data on your device. It may be a Laptop, a Smartphone, a tablet or even a Desktop Computer.
Unlike the SMS, the email is detailed and affords the citizen an opportunity to give additional information about a crime he/she is reporting. The internet platform requires that you supply the email address of the Police.
It requires your own email address as the subject, which you can label as, ‘Crime Report’. There is a large space where you can tell all you want about the crime and end the write up with your name and phone number. This way the Police follow up on your report.
Your email, reporting a crime should tell the Police the nature of crime, where the crime is taking place or has already taken place, including a landmark near the location, (for easy identification). It should also include your names and phone contact.
d) In Person:
A person can personally report a crime by being physically present before an Officer at a Police Station. If a Police Officer is asking questions or interviewing you, he will need your name, your address, street name and number and any landmark like a church, a school, a government office etc located near your address.
For names, you will need a form of identification like an INEC Voters Card, a Driver’s License or an Employment card. The Policeman may need to make a photocopy of your identity card. He will also ask what you do, where you come from or why you are before him. You may be asked if you witnessed the crime or not. You will be required to tell the officer the date and time, the crime was committed and why you feel obliged to report it to the Police.
If you are not a victim of the crime but know the victim, you may be required to offer some information about him/her such as name, address, occupation and phone contact. Thereafter you are obliged to give specific details of the crime you came to report, so that the Police can decide the type of crime.
It is robbery if the suspects were armed or there was shooting incidents; Burglary, if they were breaking down the gate or the doors of an apartment and so on.
Lastly, anyone who is aware that a crime has been committed can report it although it is not essential that they be personally affected by the crime. The bottom line is that the crime is reported, because if it is not reported, the Police may never know about it.
And if they do not know about a crime, the Police cannot investigate it. Crimes and criminality, insecurity of lives and property thrive in a society where the crimes go unreported, uninvestigated and unpunished.