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Crime Tips

Always Dial 9-1-1 In An Emergency!

Report a Crime Tip:

E-mail: ppdtips@cityofpetaluma.org
Phone: (707) 781-1200

Petaluma "Crime Tips" was created to make reporting suspected criminal activity easier. "Crime Tips" messages are checked several times throughout the week. You can send an e-mail or leave a message and your tip will be addressed.

You do not need to identify yourself

The Police Department will hold your identity in the strictest confidence and will not reveal your identity if you request anonymity. It is not necessary to identify yourself when you report a crime on the “Crime Tips” Hotline; however, crime tips are more easily investigated if officers can contact the person reporting the crime.

What happens to my tip?

When a new tip is received, it is logged and assigned to an officer. That officer completes a thorough investigation and determines a course of action for resolving the complaint or responding to the tip. Due to the fact that people sometimes make false complaints or provide false tips, the officer must first develop some information that corroborates the nature of the complaint. In some cases, this may require a brief surveillance of the residence or contacting the individual who submitted the complaint.

Numerous complaints are received each week and officers are often working on several tips at a time, requiring them to be prioritized.  Additionally, many complaints / tips are difficult to investigate and may take weeks, months, or even longer before results are seen.

What info should I include?

The more information that you supply the more likely that an arrest or citation will result from the Crime Tip.

Location of occurrence:

The address where the activity is occurring is ideal, but if you cannot determine the actual physical address, then describe the residence or location completely. A good rule of thumb is to provide a description as if you were throwing a party at the residence and giving directions to guests. When describing the location, you can use cross streets or block numbers, i.e., "third house on the left as you turn from Main Street," or "6000 block of Maple Dr." Be sure to include the color of the residence, including the trim and the roof type. Tell us if the residence is a single story or multi-story house, has a brick façade or picket fence, or any other unusual landmarks that will make the location in question stand out or be distinguishable.

Nature of activity:

Describe what is happening or the nature of the activity completely. Many times we receive complaints from anonymous persons who state: "The people at 123 Main Street are dealing drugs". These complaints are very difficult to investigate and require officers to begin their investigation at ground zero. Complaints such as these are very difficult to corroborate and often go unresolved. Report specific observations or activity that suggests someone is selling drugs, is involved in gang activity, or other crimes from the residence. Many times these activities include:

  • Unusual amount of people coming and going from the residence, many times at odd hours of the day or night.
  • People waiting in vehicles outside the residence.
  • People parking around the corner or down the street and approaching the residence on foot.
  • People who visit the residence often and only stay for 15 minutes or less.
  • Any activity you deem unusual such as digging in the yard, repeated trips to a storage shed, or strange privacy modifications to the residence.
  • Frequent visitors to the residence and their vehicles. If possible, obtain license plate numbers of these visitors.

Although this information is helpful, it is not crucial and can be gained by other means. Do not jeopardize your safety or alert the occupants to your activities to obtain this information!

Describing Vehicles and People:

People:

Describe all the people living at the residence completely. This information should include: gender, race, age, height, weight, hair color and style, eye color, facial hair, and distinguishing marks or tattoos of each occupant.

Vehicles:

Describe vehicles at the residence and if known, identify who drives them. Sometimes vehicles are difficult to describe. It may be helpful to use the acronym CYMBALS when describing a vehicle (see below):

  • Color ~ Light blue, dark green. If vehicle is more than one color, describe top to bottom; i.e., "white roof over blue Oldsmobile."
  • Year ~ Year of the vehicle. If not known exactly, use: "late 70’s," "early 90’s," etc.
  • Make/Model ~ Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, Oldsmobile Cutlass, etc.
  • Body Style ~ 2 door, 4 door, hatchback, pickup, van, convertible, etc.
  • Anything Else ~ Dents, bumper stickers, headlight out, no front license plate, cracked windshield, etc.
  • License Plate Number ~ Very important!
  • State ~ State in which license was issued.

If you think of anything else that might be helpful to the investigation, no matter how insignificant it may seem, be sure and report it. One of the largest cocaine busts in California was the result of a person who thought it was suspicious that truck drivers at a local warehouse were having difficulty backing them into the garage.

And last but not least, please provide your name and a means of contacting you. Although this information is not required, this allows officers to contact you and obtain critical information. Please trust that these officers understand the risks of retaliation and will hold your identity in the strictest confidence.

Police

Your tip might help us solve an important crime.

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