Police departments strive to collect and disseminate police report information in a timely and accurate manner. Police report information reflects crimes as reported to the police department as of the current date.
Crime classifications included in police reports are based on preliminary information given to the police department by the reporting parties—and the preliminary classifications may be changed at a later date based upon additional investigation. Therefore, police departments do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or correct sequencing of the information contained in police reports.
Due to the preliminary nature of police reports, media outlets and other interested parties should make a diligent effort to confirm any information not included in news or press releases issued by the police department prior to reporting it or otherwise relying on the information. Information contained in police reports can generally be confirmed by contacting the police department’s public relations office.
Police departments often provide access to criminal offense reports on their websites. But in the process of providing this information about reported criminal incidents, police departments must also comply with current laws that regulate the release of potentially sensitive and confidential information.
To ensure that privacy rights are protected and legal standards are met, the following categories of information will generally not be made available on a police department’s website:
• Sexually oriented offenses
• Offenses where juveniles or children (individuals under 18 years of age) are involved
• Reference to individuals considered suspects and witnesses
• Listing of property items that are considered evidence
• Offenses deemed “Attempted Suicide”
• Individuals who believe that additional or more complete information is warranted are encouraged to submit a public information request, per state law.