What Can I Contact the Police About?

Police watching port shutdown by Neroecystis
Police watching port shutdown by Neroecystis

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.