Reporting Criminal Activity
To report criminal activity, contact your local police or sheriff's department 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 crime, like traffic violations and illegal drug use, to local authorities. Or you can report it to your nearest state police office. Find contact information:
How to Report Federal Law Violations
Report suspected violations of federal law to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
The FBI investigates:
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 checklist.
Get more information on what to do if you receive a bomb threat or find a suspicious item.
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to exploit their victims for labor or commercial sex. Human trafficking happens around the world and in the U.S.
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.
Call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888, send a text to BeFree (233733), or report tips online if someone you observe:
- Is not free to leave or come and go as he or she wishes
- Works excessively long and/or unusual hours
- Appears fearful, anxious, depressed, submissive, tense, or nervous/paranoid
- Shows signs of physical and/or sexual abuse, physical restraint, confinement, or torture
- Has few or no personal possessions
Learn more potential signs of human trafficking.
Agencies Combating Human Trafficking
Several federal agencies can respond to reports of potential human trafficking and can help survivors:
You can report human trafficking to DHS enforcement specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-866-347-2423 (toll-free) or 1-802-872-6199 (non toll-free international)
Sexual assault is any kind of unwanted sexual activity, from touching to rape. If you've been sexually assaulted, use these resources to get help.
Get Help After a Sexual Assault
Get Information About Sexual Assault
If you're in an emergency situation, call 911.
If you've been a victim of domestic abuse and want to take legal action, you may be able to file for a protective order. Protective orders are also known as restraining orders or injunctions.
State courts issue protective orders. These legal orders demand that your abuser:
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 have to fill out paperwork and submit it to the county courthouse. If you need protection right away, a judge may issue a temporary restraining order. To get a longer-term order, your judge may require a full court hearing and/or your abuser's presence.
A protective order can be enforced by police. If necessary, the order can include special provisions like:
In some states, a protective order requires the abuser to surrender all firearms.
File a Complaint About a Law Enforcement Officer or Judge
You can file complaints about misconduct by law enforcement officers and by judges.
Complaints About Police Officers
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.
Complaints Against Judges
Learn how to file a complaint about a federal judge. You can report alleged misconduct or disability that interferes with their ability to perform their duties.
State and Local Judges
The rules for filing complaints about state and local judges vary by state.
To complain about a state judge, contact your state's commission on judicial conduct. It may be listed under state agencies on your state government web site.
Child pornography includes any image of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor. A minor is anyone younger than 18.
Child pornography can include:
Reporting Child Pornography
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.
Do you have a question?
Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They'll get you the answer or let you know where to find it.
March 29, 2021