Thursday, August 22, 2019
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By Ofure Osehobo
A crime or felony is any action that violates the law. Laws are rules or regulations designed to guide the behavior of all citizens in a community.
In this article I talk about what constitutes a crime, what it means to report a crime and the various ways through which a person report crimes to the Police. this info is by means  exhaustive or authoritative. 
Laws govern all communities which are inhabited by citizens. Citizens are supposed to behave or conduct themselves in a manner that does not violate the law. When a citizen violates the law, he has committed a crime and it is liable to prosecution by the state and punishable by law.
Before reporting a crime or felony to the Police, the person must know what a report is. Simply put, a report is the account of what happened. It is giving information out. In this case to report a crime amounts to giving an account or information of the violation of the law, to the Police.
Since there are laws to govern the conduct of all citizens, there is also need for enforcement so that they can be safe and secure. This is why the law enforcement agency called the Police is created. The Police have a duty to protect the lives and properties of all citizens; to maintain law and order to ensure that all citizens live in a crime-free environment. Because the Police cannot be everywhere in the community at the same time, it relies on citizens to inform it of crimes.
All citizens are therefore obliged to report crime to the Police. It does not matter if they are affected by the crime. As long as it is a crime, the citizen has a duty to report it to the Police. This is because the Police rely on such vital reports from citizens to function properly in its task of keeping every citizen safe and communities secure.
If citizens are expected to report crimes to the Police, it is advisable that they know how to do so. This brings us to the various ways citizens can report a crime.
These are four (4) ways by which citizens can report crimes to the Police. 
 They are:
a)               By Phone Call
b)               By E-mail
c)               By SMS
d)               In Person     
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.
(1)             What is Crime?  in, Retrieved on 1-5-17
(2)             Report crime in, Retrieved on 1-5-17
(3)             Security tips in, Retrieved on 1-5-17
(4)             When writing statement police station in, Retrieved on 1-5-17

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