Why Every Theft Victim Should File a Police Report Immediately

October 1, 2015

Anyone who has ever been the victim of theft knows the feelings of anger and violation. Most people yearn for a sense of justice after something is stolen from them. In many examples, the stolen property is never recovered. If it is recovered, it may be damaged. In addition to this, the perpetrators are not always found or prosecuted. When a theft occurs, it is important to file a police report immediately. A report must be filed whether the culprit was seen or not. Reports are needed for home insurance companies or credit card companies when filing a theft claim. One of the biggest reasons people are never compensated for losses is because they fail to file a police report. Alternately, they might file a report but may not file enough information to warrant compensation. The best way to be compensated, find the stolen property, and help the thieves get caught is to remember the following tips.


1. Take action immediately. By taking action immediately, victims improve their chances for finding the stolen items or the people who took them. One of the reasons for this is because people typically remember more details when the occurrence is fresh in their memory. As each hour passes while waiting to file a claim, details become hazy or may be forgotten completely. When filing a report, be sure to politely ask for the names of the officers responding to the incident. Ask for a copy of the report when it is ready.


2. Take as many photos as possible. Taking pictures of stolen items helps police officers find the items. Provide copies of receipts, records of serial numbers or other identifying details. Ask a police officer for the case number when filing a report. This will make it easier to find updated information upon request in the future, and using case number references saves time for busy law enforcement agents who have a great deal of responsibilities each day.


3. Request a copy of the entire police report. Always request a copy of the report, and make sure the officers know that the report is requested for reference and possible insurance claims. Look over the report for any errors or information that may have been forgotten. If any information was forgotten, tell the officer before he or she leaves the scene. Since insurance compensation depends on report accuracy, this is a very important tip to remember.


4. Conduct followups from time to time. Since law enforcement officers have many serious crimes to deal with, theft cases often get pushed lower on the priority list when filers do not follow up with their reports. Call several times each month to check on the status of the report. Ask if any new items have been added to the police's property collection.


Every person should file a police report for stolen goods. The report may lead the police to a thief and help them catch that person before he or she steals from someone else. The report may be the difference of having to pay for the loss out of pocket or having the benefit of an insurer cover it. It also serves as a record in the event that any other issues come up in the future relating to the incident.


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