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I've witnessed a crime, how can I handle this situation safely?

21 Answers
Last Updated: 02/08/2021 at 1:34am
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Jennifer Patterson, LMFT, ATR-BC

Art Therapist

Life can be messy. Sometimes you need a little support to make your way through it. I love to help guide people through their challenges & to find the beauty in our messes.

Top Rated Answers
November 17th, 2014 8:07pm
First of all - are you in a safe environment at the moment, or can you get you a safe environment? You can report crime anonymously in the UK both to the police on 101 in non emergency situations, or 999 in emergencies - or using Crimestoppers, who will pass on the information you give to the police. Please bear in mind that everyone copes with witnessing events differently, and what one person may 'bounce back' from may have a long lasting effect on another. You can be traumatised by, if not fully experience the effects of PTSD, and not be the direct victim of a crime, but a witness to it. Remember that most people who aren't involved in criminal justice (or emergency services) go through their daily lives not expecting to see criminal activity, or people at their worst, or just horrific events. Be aware of the signs of shock (clammy feeling skin, anxious, panic attack like feelings and shallow breathing). Also be aware of adrenaline dump after witnessing/being involved in these situations, which in turn can aggravate the risk of going into shock. In short, remember the safety of yourself and those around you. There are professionals who are highly trained in tactics to deal with situations that arise, some that are particularly heinous. Always remember your safety.
December 30th, 2014 3:55pm
The safest thing to do once witnessing a crime is to call the emergency services. Then have a hot beverage and then afterwards, to talk to someone about the crime.
March 13th, 2015 4:14pm
Do not interfere during the crime it is very dangerous, you can only call Emergency number to report to the authority. And when given your report do not add or remove any information, then your mind will be at peace.
May 28th, 2018 6:28am
Make sure you get to a safe place. Then contact the authorities I have found that seemed to work out okay when I experienced a crime happen in front of me.
October 22nd, 2014 9:57pm
If someone has been hurt and is in definite need of assistance, then giving them first aid if you can and calling an abulance/medical assistance is highly recommended. The wisest thing might be to make sure you are safe. Remove yourself to a safe location where you can first and foremost, calm down. If you've witnessed a crime, you'll be upset, to say the least, and depending on the crime. Once you are stable and feel safe, the option is: a) go home and try to forget, b) contact the authorities, and definitely a lawyer, just to be covered.
October 25th, 2014 12:23pm
Write down everything you remember so as not to forget it. Then report it to the police at a moment you can where you yourself are safe from harm
October 25th, 2014 9:59pm
Depending on the crime that was witnessed always make sure that you are in a safe place and safe location. Try not to bring attention to yourself and try not to be a hero in the situation. When you feel you are safe enough to do so get out of the area as quickly as possible and find someone whom you trust. If this was a very serious crime you may want to consider calling your local police or 911 but always making sure that your safe to do so.
October 27th, 2014 3:38am
Instead of discussing the situation with someone face-to-face, you can always submit a tip anonymously. I know for a fact in Ontario, we have this hotline called CrimeStoppers. See if there is anything such as this in your area! :)
October 31st, 2014 5:01am
The best thing to do for everyone's safety (including your own) is to make an anonymous report to the police regarding what you have seen and heard.
October 31st, 2014 8:39am
call the police and wait for a response and tell them everything u seen then let them deal with it
November 4th, 2014 12:42am
Call the police and tell them what you witnessed. If your safety is at risk, they will take care of you. The most responsible and safe thing you can do is go to the professionals: call 9-1-1.
November 13th, 2014 6:24pm
The first thing you should do if you've witnessed is to call the local authorities. If you are in personal danger, seek intimidate help.
December 26th, 2014 11:53pm
tell the police. do not try to fix it yourself they is a chance that you will get harmed or worse in the progress.
July 6th, 2015 7:50am
Sounds like a nerve racking situation, if you want to remain anonymous you can phone your local police station and leave an anonymous tip stating the crime you have observed.
August 10th, 2015 5:34pm
Call the police, write down all you know, if you have the opportunity take photos with your phone. Get to safety if you feel you are in danger. Do not try to do anything to stop the crime. Please let the authorities handle it.
November 17th, 2015 8:36pm
You can anonymously report the criminal activity to someone you trust. Be sure to have a person with you at all times if the criminal suspects you of reporting them, and have witness protection provided by your state or government.
September 20th, 2016 4:14pm
Make sure you are in a safe place - such as home - and then contact the police. Ask to remain anonymous if you are still truly afraid.
November 8th, 2016 4:11am
Depending on the type of crime your reaction would be different along with the coinciding trauma. I recommend you stay calm, breathe, try not to draw attention to yourself and call the police. If you must walk a ways away that may help as well.
August 15th, 2017 3:22pm
Are you able to speak to the police and report the crime? Also make sure you get support yourself if you need to deal with what you witnessed.
September 1st, 2020 8:45am
If you have possibility to report the crime anonimously to police, you can try to do it. Go to a space, where no one will be able to see and hear and reach you and call the anonymous police number. Say to police what happened, where it happened and any details about criminal and crime you know. If there is no anonymous police number, you can report the crime by calling emergency police number, but do it where no one will be able to see or hear you or reach to you while calling police and talking to police. People who reported crime are usually protected,
February 8th, 2021 1:34am
First, remove yourself from the situation until you've reached a safe place. A safe place could be a crowded area, which the criminals generally wouldn't take the risk in exposing themselves in public. If the criminals didn't discover you for witnessing their crime, then you could head to a friend's house to seek their support until you've calmed down. Then, bring a family member or a friend that you could trust with you to contact your local authorities and express your fear for your safety. The authorities will know what to do to keep you safe. I hope that you'll get the help you need while doing your part in reporting those that have committed a crime.