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Reporting Crimes:
guidelines for victims | emergency | non-emergency | details to know

Guidelines for Crime Victims:
If you are a witness or the victim of a crime, an accident, a fire, or suspicious or threatening circumstances while on the Cornell campus, report it to Cornell Police as soon as possible (call 911 in an emergency situation requiring immediate response to preserve life or property, or 255-1111, or use the nearest Blue Light or other campus emergency phone). If you are victimized elsewhere in Tompkins County, contact a local law-enforcement agency or Cornell Police for referral to the appropriate agency.

On campus, if you believe that you are in imminent danger for any reason, call 911 or use the nearest Blue Light or other campus emergency phone to put you in immediate contact with Cornell Police. The location of the phone you are using will simultaneously be displayed on the Cornell Police switchboard, so help will immediately be sent to that location, whether or not you are able to communicate with the dispatcher. Cornell Police personnel trained in the techniques and legal aspects of evidence collection and adjudication will also help victims obtain appropriate treatment and support services.

If you are reporting an emergency:
Try to act quickly but calmly
Get to a safe place if possible
Call 911 on any phone on the Cornell campus you can also use a Blue Light Phone or other campus emergency phone.
Try to speak slowly and clearly.

If you are reporting a non-emergency:
do not call 911 - use the non-emergency number of the appropriate agency.

Your first contact will most likely be an agency dispatcher. The dispatcher will need to obtain as much vital information from you as possible and relay it appropriately, often by radio. Remember, the questions are necessary, but you're not expected to know the answers to everything you are asked. Also, things that seem obvious or unimportant to you can be less apparent or more important to the dispatcher and to the responding agency. Additionally, you may use the Silent Witness form to report non-emergency suspicious or criminal situations.

Know some or all of the following details:
Nature of Incident:

  • Fire: the type and size of fire
  • Medical: the type of illness or injury and any specific cause
  • Police: the crime or danger and descriptions of suspects, vehicles if any are involved, and the direction of travel
  • Chemical: the chemicals involved, quantity, hazards, and injuries

Location of Incident:

  • Building name
  • Room or apartment number
  • Street address
  • Landmarks near location if outdoors

Caller Identity and Location:

  • Your name and any other identifying information requested
  • The telephone number and location you are calling from (If you called 911 on a Cornell phone or are using a Blue Light or other campus emergency phone, this will automatically be displayed on the Cornell Police switchboard.)
  • Stay on the line, answer all questions, and let the dispatcher hang up first. If you are disconnected, call back immediately. 

Help Us Help You
Please remember that you are one of the most important resources Cornell Police has in keeping the campus safe and secure. Stay alert, become familiar with your surroundings as quickly as possible, and report any activity or circumstance that you feel is unusual. It may be entirely innocent or inconsequential, or it may be a sign of a criminal act. Your report gives an officer the opportunity to check out the situation.

Contact Cornell Police by stopping by department headquarters (G2 Barton Hall), calling 255-1111, or using one of the many Blue Light telephones situated throughout the campus. Call 911 to report emergencies that require immediate response from police, fire, medical, or other emergency units.