Accurate reporting of such crimes/incidents not only helps the victim, but can lead to the identification and apprehension of the suspect as well as providing the police administration useful information that can be utilized to help identify crime trends and patterns. These patterns impact their decisions regarding the allocation of personnel. Therefore, without an accurate accounting of actual crime, the ability of the police department to prevent crimes in the future may be significantly hampered.
HOW DO I REPORT A CRIME?
WHAT IF I AM THE VICTIM OF A CRIME?
Whenever you wish to report a crime or an incident that you feel the police should know about, the first step is to contact the police department where the incident occurred. Regardless of the nature of the offense, you should not feel embarrassed or ashamed. Your actions may prevent the victimization of others.
In most cases, the police department is responsible for conducting the initial investigation. If the investigation involves serious crimes or incidents that may involve multiple jurisdictions, the police department will contact the Prosecutor’s Office, who will evaluate the facts known at that particular time and make a determination if a joint investigation will be initiated.
WHAT IF I WITNESS A CRIME OR HAVE INFORMATION RELATED TO A CRIME?
If you witness a crime, and the police respond to conduct an initial investigation, you are encouraged to step forward to notify the investigating officer(s) as to what you witnessed. If you do not feel comfortable with stepping forward at the scene, you should call the police department at your earliest possible convenience and ask to speak to a detective from that agency.
WHAT IF I WANT TO REPORT A BIAS INCIDENT OR BIAS CRIME?
You should notify and file a police report the police department where the incident occurred. Once the report is made, the police department will make a determination as to whether or not the incident qualifies as a bias crime pursuant to the Criminal Code of the State of New Jersey. The police department is also required to forward all such reports to the Prosecutor’s Office Bias Crime Unit for additional review. The Prosecutor’s Office will make a final determination as to whether or not the incident qualifies as a bias crime pursuant to the Criminal Code.
WHAT IF I WISH TO REPORT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
In drafting the domestic violence law, the legislature recognized some of the difficulties victims had in seeking protection. As a result, the law gives the victims of domestic violence expanded reporting options.
If you wish to report an incident involving domestic violence, you may go to the police department where the incident occurred, where the victim resides or is sheltered, or where the suspect resides.
The victim is encouraged to file the police report. Many police departments have Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Teams on duty. These teams offer counseling services and referrals, help guide the victim thru the legal process, and provide guidance in securing a restraining order, if necessary.
WHAT IF I WANT TO ANONYMOUSLY REPORT A CRIME?
To anonymously report a crime, or have information regarding the same, contact the Middlesex County Crime Stoppers Program by calling 1-800-939-9600 or visit their website www.middlesextips.com
. A link to the Crime Stoppers Program can be found on the Prosecutor’s Office main webpage.
WHAT IF I WANT TO MAKE A REPORT ALLEGING OFFICER MISCONDUCT?
All complaints of officer misconduct shall be accepted from all persons who wish to file a complaint regardless of the hour or day of the week. This includes reports from anonymous sources, juveniles and persons under arrest or in custody. Complaints should be accepted by any law enforcement officer in the event that an Internal Affairs officer or supervisory personnel are not available. Anonymous reports of improper conduct by an officer shall be accepted. All efforts will be made to encourage full cooperation by the complainant.
Citizens should submit their complaints as soon as possible after the incident. The Internal Affairs investigator, supervisor, or other officer receiving the complaint will explain to the complainant the department’s internal affairs process and what role the complainant can expect to play in the investigation. Upon request, the complainant will be kept informed of the status of the complaint. In all cases, the complainant will be advised in writing of its ultimate disposition.
If a person comes to a particular law enforcement agency to make a complaint about a member of another law enforcement agency, he or she will be referred to the agency. If the complainant has fears or concerns about making the complaint, he or she should be go to the Prosecutor’s Office in the County where the officer is employed.
All complaints should be investigated, as long as there is sufficient factual information to warrant an investigation. All relevant facts known to the complainant should be told to the officer taking the complaint. Complaints will be professionally, objectively and expeditiously investigated in order to gather all information necessary to arrive at a proper disposition. After a thorough and impartial investigation, a decision will be made as to the proper disposition of the complaint.