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How to Report a Crime

When reporting an incident to a public safety agency, think of the Five W’s to help provide key details to the person taking your information:

Remember: Never place yourself in harm’s way to gather this information!

What:  Synopsis of what is happening or the type of service needed.


  • There’s a woman causing a disturbance.
  • There’s a suspicious man in front of the building.
  • We need an ambulance for someone who passed out!

Where:  Location where the incident is occurring. Be as specific as possible; it can be an exact address, intersection, block or an identifiable area at the location.


  • 1801 W. Taylor St.
  • Taylor/Wolcott,
  • 1800 block W. Taylor
  • On the 2nd floor in apt/office/room 201
  • Additional descriptors: tower or wing, loading dock, alley, etc.

Who:  Descriptions of offender(s)/direction of flight. Provide as many details as possible to help police identify the right person(s).


  • Caucasian man, about 5’9 and 180 pounds, with black hair, sunglasses, and a full beard. He has on a blue baseball cap, tan jacket, white button-up shirt, khaki pants, and brown shoes.

When:  Advise if the incident is currently happening or has already passed.


  • There’s a car on fire right now!
  • Someone just stole my car!
  • My office was burglarized overnight!

Weapons:  Identify any weapons involved or any object that can do bodily harm or damage property.


  • gun
  • knife
  • baseball bat
  • golf club
  • crowbar
  • brick

Additional Details: Known physical or psychological issues involved. This information will assist in getting the appropriate resources to the scene.


There are a variety of ways to report a crime:


  • In-person at the UIC Police Department, 943 W Maxwell St, Chicago, IL 60608, Second (2nd) Floor
  • Emergency Call: (312) 355-5555 (24hrs)
  • Non-Emergency Call: (312) 996-2830 (24hrs)
  • Call 911