We all have times when we think we should report something, but we’re not sure if it is a matter to contact the police about. If you see a cat stuck in a tree and you dial up 911 (US and Canada), someone calling about a robbery in progress might be put on hold because of a confused cat. This is not good. So below is a general outline of when you should call the police, and when you can call a non-emergency number.
When should I call the police?
If you think a life may be in danger or a crime has/is/is about to occur you should call the police.
If you observe suspicious activity. For example, you may see people about to fight or someone trying to open a window of a house. It may be a false alarm, but it’s better if you call and prevent a crime. Most people will not call, so by calling you can stop a crime from happening.
When should I not call the police?
If it’s something where a life is not in danger and there’s really no crime, you can call a non-emergency number. In many communities in US and Canada, the non-emergency number is 311. You can search “non-emergency phone number” + your area to get the local number for you.