The ability to accurately describe an event and provide descriptions are extremely valuable when reporting a crime. The more information gathered, the better the chance police have to prevent further injury and/or property loss, as well as catch the subject(s) responsible.

Anytime you witness a crime or suspicious activity, it’s a good idea to write everything down as soon as you can. Write down anything you can think of, including: what you saw, heard, and smelt.
Make sure you write details down in a safe space – never put yourself at risk.

It is essential to know the 4 Ws (Who ,What, When, Where), since call-takers will ask these questions when you alert them of a crime. Do not hesitate to report even if you are unsure about the 4 Ws, any information is helpful.
Your memory is more accurate the sooner you write everything down. If you do not know the answer to a question, the best answer is: “I don’t know” – don’t guess to try and ‘help’ the situation, police rely on your answers being as accurate as possible.

  • What happened?
  • When did the event happen?
  • Where did it take place?
  • Who is the suspect and what do they look like?

When describing a person it helps to start from the head down, paying attention to any distinctive features including visible scars, piercings, tattoos, facial hair, or birthmarks.

Describing people

  • Basic description: height, weight, build
  • Clothing description: writing, distinct patterns or colours, colour and style of shoes
  • Physical description: distinct marks, scars, or tattoos. If possible, hair colour, length and style; eye colour, facial hair, race
  • Interaction: Try to recall exactly what was said and how it was said

Try to remember what was said between suspects if there were multiple; did they use names, nicknames, or any other potential identifiers?

Describing vehicles or other modes of transportation 

  • Make, model, colour
  • License plate (if possible), even a partial is helpful
  • Identifiable markings or damage (stickers, rusting, tint, burnt out tail/head light, etc.)
  • Number of visible occupants.
  • Was the suspect the driver or a passenger?
  • If impaired: a driving pattern (i.e.: weaving in lanes, speeds, etc.)
  • Direction of travel

Direction of travel is vital information if a person or vehicle is fleeing a scene.

Describing residences or locations 

  • Entrances & lane ways
  • If reporting a break and enter: entrance used to gain access or exit; other entrances and how entrance(s) are approached.
  • Is there movement in the location? Are there any lights on? Can you see the individual(s) and what are they doing?

It is also important to note if any weapons or tools were used in the incident and their description.
Also note if any property was stolen or damaged, and their description(s).
DO NOT TOUCH OR MOVE ANYTHING before police arrive at the scene. You do not want to risk contaminating a crime scene or impede any investigation efforts.

For your convenience, there are now several ways to report a crime.

In case of EMERGENCY call 9-1-1 
emergencies include:

  • Immediate threat to person or property (screams, attacks, gunshots, fires, car accidents with injuries, any other medical emergency)
  • A substantive crime in progress (fights, break & enters if suspect is still on scene, report impaired driver)
  • A serious crime has just occurred (sexual assault, robbery)
  • A suspicious circumstance that may indicate an imminent criminal act (vandal, prowler)

In person 
You can report a crime in person by going to the nearest police station (Duncan/North Cowichan detachment – 6060 Canada Ave.), or talking to an officer that crosses your path.

Over the phone 
You can call the police at any time for assistance or to report a crime. If it is NOT an emergency, call your local police non-emergency line (Duncan/North Cowichan – (250)-748-5522). They are available 24 hours a day to assist you.
examples of non-emergency crimes include:

  • A crime has already been committed and no suspects are present (theft from vehicle or home, vandalism, fraud)
  • Suspicious activity or circumstance, less serious nuisance behaviour
  • If you want follow up information on a report you have previously made

Through the internet 
Certain types of minor crimes in BC can be reported online through the Online Crime Reporting service. These include:

  • Lost or stolen items under $5,000 in value
  • Property damage or vandalism that will cost under $5,000 to repair
  • Driving complaint that is not in progress
  • Crimes that happened within the Duncan/North Cowichan RCMP jurisdiction


When you come forward and report a crime to police, the information you provide has the ability to help bring an offender to justice. It is natural to feel intimidated or uncertain about reporting a crime, however doing so helps decrease the likelihood of someone else being victimized, increases community safety, and gives police better knowledge about crime trends in a given area.

  • You or someone else may need protection from the person who committed the crime
  • It can help you, your loved ones, and your community from future crimes
  • It can provide the opportunity to deal with and heal form the harm done to you or others
  • There is a better chance of arresting the person responsible when you alert police as soon as possible
  • Your report/information may stop someone from committing another/future crime
  • Be able to make an insurance claim for damaged or stolen property
  • Reporting provides Police with an accurate understanding of what is happening in our neighborhoods
  • Reporting is important for accurate crime stats. This gives more leverage to request extra police officers, vehicles etc.
  • Help identify target crime areas to RCMP

Recent News

North Cowichan/Duncan

2023-04-19 09:44 PDT

File # 2023-5913, 5920, 5921, 5943

The North Cowichan Duncan RCMP is looking for witnesses and video after a dozen vehicles were discovered damage yesterday morning.

On April 18, 2023 between 6:00 and 11:00 am., police responded to multiple reports of vehicle windows smashed around the 300 block of Boundary Street and the 300 block of First Street.

Anyone with information or video surveillance is asked to contact North Cowichan Duncan RCMP at (250)-748-5522.

Released by:

Cst. Pete Sanders
North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP
6060 Canada Ave. Duncan, BC V9L 1V3

‘No Stone Left Unturned’: Campbell River man sentenced for possessing child pornography

  • Campbell River resident Leslie Harold Hamilton (66) sentenced to 13 months in prison, 2 years probation, a 5 year sex offender prohibition, and a mandatory 20 years on the sex offender registry & a DNA order for possessing child pornography.
  • Campbell River RCMP were first alerted someone was viewing child pornography in the city by the BC Integrated Child Exploitation Unit in May 2021.
  • Police executed a search warrant at a home in October 2021, where they found several digital devices containing “thousands of images and videos that met the definition of child pornography” according to RCMP.
  • Campbell River Mounties have seen a 25% increase in reports involving child pornography between 2021 and 2022, with a similar increase likely in 2023.
  • West Shore RCMP child pornography investigations doubled in their jurisdiction between 2021-2022 (19-39 cases).

“People need to understand that viewing and possessing child pornography is not a victimless crime. In fact, it creates a market and demand for the further exploitation and abuse of children.” – Insp. Jeff Preston
*Info from CTV News

Nanaimo RCMP arrest 3, seize drugs, weapons in traffic stop 

  • 3 people were arrested on April 18th in the 4000 block of Departure Bay Rd. around 2am following a search of their vehicle during a traffic stop, turning up a large quantity of pills, cash, and weapons (Hunting knife & tactical shotgun).
  • RCMP located a tool bag inside the white Tacoma containing an unloaded tactical semi-automatic pistol grip shotgun, face masks, zap straps and other commonly used items used to carry out violent crimes and ‘drug rips’.
  • Another bag contained several cellphones, a baseball bat, & more pills.
  • 27 year old man (passenger) was arrested for possession for the purpose of trafficking and multiple outstanding warrants for unauthorized possession of a firearm.
  • 21 year old female (passenger) was arrested for possession for the purpose of trafficking.
  • 38 year old (driver). All 3 were identified as being active in the local drug trade.
  • All 3 have been released with appearances in Nanaimo provincial court scheduled in September.

*Info from CTV News