How to File a Police Report (And Why You Should Always Do It)

Person using their smartphone.

Cops have confirmed: They need a report! (Skip to instructions.)

And, honestly, we need it too. It helps your neighbors help you!

Law enforcement agencies are rarely willing or able to take meaningful action to combat crimes that haven't been reported directly to them. A recent conversation I had with an Arizona police department went like this:
Me: “I have some information that was submitted to me about someone who has been stealing packages near [cross-streets].” (This was information I received that referred to a crime that a different reader had submitted.)
PD: “Could you tell me the report number?”
Me: “That wasn't given to me, sorry.”
PD: “Do you know what the address was?”
Me: “I have the cross streets and a name and description.”
PD: “Unfortunately, that isn't enough. The description of the location is too broad to find the case, and without knowing for sure what case it is, we don't have much information about the crime, whether or not the victim is pursuing prosecution, etc.”

Please make a police report and share the report/incident number! If we and our readers have the report number, when we source relevant information about the crime—this has already happened—we can get it to the people who can do something about it.

For a crime like package theft, not only can you make a report by calling the relevant law enforcement agency's non-emergency number, but there's often an easy way to do it online if you don't want to talk to anyone!

Keep in mind, also, that even if it feels like the theft isn't a big enough deal to you to be worth reporting/pursuing prosecution, the criminal who stole from you may have victimized many other people, so doing something meaningful to stop them could go far beyond getting justice for yourself.

Okay, I'll get off my soap box now. Here are some numbers and links for the ten largest cities in Arizona:


Call non-emergency number, 602-262-6151, or visit


Call non-emergency number, 520-791-4444, or visit


Call non-emergency number, 480-644-2211, or visit


Call non-emergency number, 480-782-4130, or visit


Call non-emergency number, 480-503-6500. Gilbert is the largest city in Arizona that does not have a way to file police reports online. Contact your Mayor and Town Council members and tell them that this is something that is needed.


Call non-emergency number, 623-930-3000, or visit


Call non-emergency number, 480-312-5000, or visit


Call non-emergency number, 623-773-8311, or visit


Call non-emergency number, 480-350-8311, or visit


Call non-emergency number, 623-222-4000. Surprise is another Arizona city that does not have a way to file police reports online. Contact your Mayor and City Council members and tell them that this is something that is needed.

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