How to Report a Crime and What Happens Next - Victim

How to Report a Crime and What Happens Next

Reporting a crime is a crucial step in seeking justice and ensuring the safety of yourself and Florida crime victims. Understanding the process can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that comes with it. This guide will take you through the steps of reporting a crime and what to expect afterward, ensuring you are well-informed and prepared.

How to Report a Crime

1. Assess the Situation

Immediate Danger: If you are in immediate danger or witness a crime in progress, call 911 immediately. Provide the dispatcher with as much detail as possible, including the location, description of the suspect, and the nature of the crime.

Non-Emergency Situations: For non-emergency situations, such as reporting a past incident or providing information about suspicious activity, use the non-emergency number for your local police department.

2. Gather Information

Before contacting authorities, gather all relevant information about the crime. This can include:

  • Date and time of the incident
  • Location
  • Description of the suspect(s)
  • Description of any vehicles involved
  • Details of what happened
  • Any evidence you have, such as photos, videos, or documents

3. Contact the Authorities

When you are ready to report the crime, contact your local law enforcement agency. You can do this by:

  • Calling 911 for emergencies
  • Calling the non-emergency number for your local police department
  • Visiting your local police station in person
  • Using online reporting tools, if available

4. Provide a Detailed Report

When speaking with law enforcement, be as detailed and accurate as possible. Provide all the information you have gathered and answer any questions the officers may have. This helps ensure that they have all the necessary information to investigate the crime.

5. Obtain a Copy of the Police Report

After you have reported the crime, request a copy of the police report for your records. This document can be crucial for insurance claims, legal proceedings, and keeping track of the case.

What Happens Next

1. Police Investigation

Once you have reported the crime, the police will begin their investigation. This may involve:

  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Collecting evidence
  • Reviewing surveillance footage
  • Conducting forensic analysis

The length and complexity of the investigation will depend on the nature of the crime.

2. Arrest and Charges

If the police gather enough evidence, they may arrest the suspect. The suspect will then be formally charged with the crime. This process can vary in length, depending on the complexity of the case and the legal procedures involved.

3. Legal Proceedings

After the suspect is charged, the case will move to the legal system. This involves several stages:

Arraignment: The suspect appears in court, is informed of the charges, and enters a plea (guilty, not guilty, or no contest).

Pre-Trial Hearings: These hearings address various legal issues and motions before the trial begins.

Trial: During the trial, both the prosecution and defense present their cases. Witnesses may be called to testify, and evidence will be presented.

Verdict and Sentencing: If the suspect is found guilty, the judge will determine the appropriate sentence based on the severity of the crime and other factors.

4. Victim Support and Advocacy

Throughout the process, resources for victims of crime are available to provide support and guidance. Victim advocates can help you understand your rights, provide emotional support, and assist with navigating the legal system. Whether you are a victim of a violent crime, gun violence victim, stabbing victim, or victim of sexual assault, it is crucial to seek the support you need.

5. Restitution and Compensation

If the suspect is convicted, the court may order restitution to compensate you for any financial losses incurred due to the crime. Additionally, you may be eligible for compensation through state programs designed to support crime victims. These programs can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with the crime.

6. Ongoing Support

Recovering from a crime can be a long and challenging process. It is important to seek ongoing support from counseling services, support groups, and victim advocacy organizations. These resources can help you cope with the emotional and psychological impact of the crime and assist you in rebuilding your life.


Reporting a crime is a critical step in seeking justice and ensuring your safety. By understanding the reporting process and what happens next, you can be better prepared to navigate the aftermath of a crime. Remember, as a Florida crime victim, numerous resources are available to support you through this challenging time.

Contact Victim Advocate

If you or someone you know has been a victim of a crime, don’t hesitate to report it and seek the support you need. For more information and resources for victims of crime, contact We are here to help you navigate the legal system and access the resources necessary for recovery and justice.

Contact a Victim Advocate Now

Understanding the process of reporting a crime and what follows can empower you to take control of your recovery and ensure your voice is heard in the criminal justice system.

Brandon Stein

Chief Executive Officer

Brandon Stein is a Florida based trial attorney born in Queens, New York, and was raised in East Brunswick, New Jersey. Being the son of an accountant that owns a large firm in New Jersey, owning and operating a business is something that was engrained within Brandon Stein from a very young age...[READ BIO]

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