Reporting Crime

Find out how to report and respond to many types of crimes and criminal behavior.

America's Most Wanted Criminals

Please do not attempt to apprehend or take any action beyond reporting the whereabouts of wanted criminals. If you need immediate assistance or would like to report criminal activity, please contact your local police department or appropriate agency or call 911.  

The following agencies or organizations maintain their own most wanted or fugitive lists, with some cases offering rewards for information:

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Bomb Threats by Telephone

If you receive a bomb threat over the telephone, Ready.gov provides the following information on what to do:

  • Get as much information from the caller as possible. Try to ask the following questions:
    • When is the bomb going to explode?
    • Where is it right now?
    • What does it look like?
    • What kind of bomb is it?
    • What will cause it to explode?
    • Did you place the bomb?
  • Keep the caller on the line and record everything that is said.
  • Notify the police and building management immediately.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also provides a helpful telephone bomb threat report form.

For descriptions of explosive devices, visit the Department of State's (DOS) pamphlet on Overseas Bomb Threat Awareness.

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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery which uses force, fraud, or coercion to exploit its victims for some type of labor or commercial sex purpose.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

Warning Signs

The Polaris Project, a leading organization in the fight to end human trafficking, has a full list of warning signs to help you determine if you or someone you know is or has been a victim of human trafficking. A few potential warning signs include an individual who:

  • Isn't free to come and go as they please from either work or home

  • Works excessively long and/or unusual hours

  • Is under 18 and is providing commercial sex acts

  • Is fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid

  • Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture

If you notice some of these signs in an individual, contact the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or text HELP to: BeFree (233733). You can also report tips online.

Agencies Combating Human Trafficking

A number of federal agencies can respond to your concerns about a potential human trafficking situation and can help survivors:

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Sexual Assault

Get Help

  • Call 911 if you or someone else is in immediate danger or has just been sexually assaulted.
  • Contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline anytime at 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673) to be connected anonymously with a counselor at your nearest rape treatment center.
  • Find state domestic violence resources online or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline anytime at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) to talk confidentially with an advocate or to find local resources.
  • Contact the Loveisrespect hotline if you or someone you know is a victim of teen dating violence. Reach a peer advocate anytime by phone at 1-866-331-9474, by texting ‘loveis’ to 22522, or by chat online.

Get Information

  • Call womenshealth.gov at 1-800-994-9662 to get more information on sexual assault. 

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File a Restraining Order

If you're in an emergency situation, call 911.

If you've been a victim of abuse and want to take legal action, you may be able to file for a protective order (also known as a restraining order, injunction, or an order of protection).

The National Domestic Violence Hotline defines a protective order as an “official legal order issued by a state court that requires the abusive person to stop the violence and abuse and maintain a certain distance from the victim.”

Like the name of the order, the process for obtaining a protective order differs from state-to-state. Your local police and court can help you get the process started. Contact your state, county, or municipal court for more information.

Generally, you will need to fill out the appropriate paperwork and submit it to the county courthouse. If you're in immediate need of protection, a judge may issue a short-term emergency order of protection or temporary restraining order. Depending on your state, a longer-term protective order may be issued by a judge with or without a full court hearing and with or without your abuser present.

A protective order can be enforced by police and, if necessary, can include special provisions like:

  • Custody of children
  • Continued financial support
  • Forcing the abuser to leave a residence

In some states, a protective order requires the abuser to surrender all firearms.

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File a Complaint About a Law Enforcement Agency or Officer

If you have experienced police misconduct:

  • Contact the law enforcement agency involved.
  • Submit your complaint in writing to the chief of police or the head of the law enforcement agency involved.
  • Send a copy of your complaint to the Internal Affairs Division of the law enforcement agency. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.

If the problem remains unresolved, learn how to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Rights Division.

Finally, as with any potential legal dispute, you may want to contact a licensed attorney.

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Report Child Pornography

Federal law defines child pornography as any kind of visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor (any person younger than 18). This includes drawings, cartoons, sculptures, paintings, photographs, films, videos, or computer-generated images or pictures.

To report child pornography, contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

Child Pornography in the Mail

It is illegal to send child pornography through the U.S. Mail. For more information, visit the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's section on child exploitation.

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Reporting Criminal Activity

If you want to report criminal activity, contact your local law enforcement authorities first. They can determine if a report of criminal activity needs attention. If this is an emergency, call 911.

How to Report Local or State Law Violations

Report suspected criminal activity (traffic violations, illegal drugs, etc.) to your local police or sheriff's department or your nearest state police office. You can find contact information online or in  your local telephone directory under Police Departments or Local Governments.

How to Report Federal Law Violations

  • To report financial fraud, visit StopFraud.gov.

  • Report suspected violations of federal law to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI investigates public corruption, hate crimes, human trafficking, white-collar crime, violent crime, and more. To report known or suspected criminal activity to the FBI:

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Report Government Vehicle Misuse or Reckless Driving

To report the misuse or reckless driving of a government vehicle, please email howsmydriving@gsa.gov and provide the following information:

  • Date of the incident
  • Time of the incident
  • Location of alleged misuse
  • Activity that is the cause of your concern
  • License Plate (EX: GXX-XXXXX for GSA owned vehicles)
  • GSA leased vehicles all have license plates that have the following structure (GXX-XXXXX).  If the license plate does not begin with a G, then it is not owned by GSA. However, if the license plate follows the approved license plate codes for Executive Branch agencies and other federal entities, we can forward the report to the owning agency on your behalf. You can also look up the agency license plate code.

Other helpful information includes:

  • Description of vehicle (color, vehicle type, make/model, etc)
  • Description of driver and passengers
  • Any pictures or video of the incident

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Last Updated: February 28, 2017

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