What to Do if You're a Victim of a Crime
Report a Homicide
To report a murder, please call 911. The dispatcher receiving the call will send a police officer to the scene. The following tips will be helpful to police officers when they arrive on the scene:
- Don’t move or touch anything.
- While waiting for the police, you should write down the license plate numbers of any vehicles you saw leaving the crime scene.
- Make a note of any suspicious persons seen leaving the area.
- When a police officer arrives, there will be a search for evidence and you will be asked to provide any information you may have.
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Reporting a Missing Adult
To report a missing adult, please contact the Aberdeen Police Department at 605-626-7911. The officer receiving the call will request the following information:
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Report a Missing Child/Juvenile
If a young child is believed to be missing, parents should first make sure the child is not inside the house, or anywhere in the immediate area. Check under beds, in closets, and other places the child may have snuggled up and fallen asleep.
Contact the Aberdeen Police Department by calling 911 if the child still can’t be found. There is no waiting period for a missing child report to be accepted. The officer receiving the call will request the following information:
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Report Child Abuse
To report child abuse, please immediately call the Aberdeen Police Department at 911.
If a parent finds out a child has been a victim, the most important thing to do is to ensure the child’s safety and well-being. This means the parent must remain calm and under control. This is especially important in sexual abuse cases where parental help is needed to calm the child.
Aiding a Physically Abused Child
Medical examinations are necessary in physical abuse cases to determine the extent of injuries and to provide expert medical verification that injuries did occur.
Aiding a Sexually Abused Child
If the sexual assault happened within the past 72 hours, hospital attention should be sought quickly. Helpful tips include:
- Before the examination, do not bathe or otherwise clean the victim.
- Bring clean clothing for the victim, as clothing worn during the assault will be kept by the police.
- The child was injured.
- The assault resulted in pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
- Other physical indications exist that support the victim’s claims.
The person reporting actual or suspected child abuse incidents is protected by law from civil liabilities and retaliatory lawsuits, provided the reports are made in good faith and without malicious intent. The identities of the persons making the reports are kept confidential, and reports will be accepted anonymously in some cases if necessary.
When the Police Department or the Department of Social Services receives a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, a full investigation is launched. Both agencies are concerned with the safety of the child and share information, although each has different responsibilities during the investigation.
The Police Department, for example, concentrates on determining whether or nor a criminal offense has been committed. The Department of Social Services, on the other hand, determines the state of the victim’s well-being and the need for civil intervention. This joint effort is believed to be best for the victim.
For more information, view tips to protect your children.
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Report Finding a Missing Child or Adult
When a missing child or adult is located or returns home, the Aberdeen Police Department should be contacted immediately at 605-626-7911 so the case can be closed.
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Victim of Assault
If you are a victim of assault, please call 911 to report the crime as soon as possible to the Aberdeen Police Department.
Process of Investigation
The investigating officer will ask the victim and any witnesses for details of the incident. Correct information is extremely important because it can assist in making a speedy arrest and help determine the type of criminal charges to be filed.
The officer will take photographs of the injuries and ask that a voluntary written statement or a recorded audible statement be made by the victim and any witnesses.
When the investigation is completed, if the officer has probable cause to arrest the suspect, the officer will take the suspect into custody and transport them to the Brown County Jail.
The officer will then write a report and send it to the proper division where an officer from that division will review the case, contact the victim and any witnesses, file charges when possible, and do everything within reason to arrest the suspect (if not already in custody).
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Victim of Auto Theft If you find that you are the victim of auto theft, please call the Aberdeen Police Department at 605-626-7911 to report the theft as soon as possible.
Please note: You must have your vehicle’s license plate number and/or vehicle identification number (VIN).
Finding Your Vehicle After Reporting it Stolen
If you recover your vehicle, do not touch or move the vehicle so as to preserve possible evidence.
Call the Aberdeen Police Department at 605-626-7911 to report the recovery. If you do not call, your car will continue to be listed as stolen.
For more information , view tips to protect your vehicle.
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Victim of Burglary or Theft
If you find that you are the victim of burglary or theft, please call the Aberdeen Police Department at 605-626-7911 to report the theft as soon as possible. Helpful tips include:
- Avoid touching or disturbing anything until the officer has arrived and collected the evidence.
- Make a note of any items you remember being in your possession before the burglary or theft. The investigating officer will ask you to make an inventory to determine what was taken.
To obtain information about your case, contact the Detective Division, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 605-626-4047 or the direct number for the detective assigned to your case.
For more information, view tips to protect your home.
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Victim of Domestic Violence
If you are the victim of a domestic violence assault, please call 911 to report the crime as soon as possible to the Aberdeen Police Department. State law mandates officers to make an arrest if they believe domestic violence has occurred. The victim in the case does not file the complaint, it is filed by the State of South Dakota.
Determining the Primary Physical Aggressor
If both parties have assaulted each other, the officer is not required to arrest both parties. The officer will attempt to determine who the primary physical aggressor is and then arrest that person. The primary physical aggressor is determined by extent of injuries inflicted, physical size of parties involved, past domestic violence history, who has control in the relationship, and self-defense injuries present. The person who started the fight is not always the person who is determined to be the primary physical aggressor.
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Victim of Identity Theft
If you become the victim of identity theft, it is important to act immediately to stop the thief’s further use of your identity. Immediate actions include:
- Immediately contact all your credit card issuers. Get replacement cards with new account numbers. Ask that the old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer’s request." (This is better than "card lost or stolen," because when this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.)
- Call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Report the theft of your credit cards and/or numbers. Ask that your accounts be flagged. Also, add a victim's statement to your report such as, "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX (your phone number) to verify all applications."
- Notify your bank(s) of the theft. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Ask the bank to issue you a secret password that must be used in every transaction. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks of which you are unsure.
- Get a new ATM card. If you use an ATM card for banking services, get a new card, account number, and password. Do not use your old password. When creating a password, avoid such commonly used numbers as the last four digits of your Social Security number or your birth date.
- Report your checks as stolen. If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to Telecheck and the National Processing Company (NPC). These check guaranteeing companies will flag your file so bogus checks will be turned down.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal cases, the commission assists victims of identity theft by providing them with information to help them resolve the financial and other problems that can result from identity theft. The FTC also may refer a victim's complaints to other appropriate government agencies and private organizations for further action. If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC's Consumer Response Center at 877-382-4357.
- Notify the Social Security Administration office. If your Social Security number (SSN) has been used fraudulently, notify the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General by calling 800-772-1213. To order Earnings and Benefits Statement, or to report fraudulent use of your SSN, call 800-772-1213. You may want to have your SSN changed if your number has become associated with bad checks and credit.
- Caution: This step should be reserved for only the most extreme situations. You must be sure to notify all credit grantors and credit reporting bureaus of your new SSN. Consider this option carefully. A new SSN may not resolve your identity theft problems, and may actually create new problems. For example, a new SSN does not necessarily ensure a new credit record because credit bureaus may combine the credit records from your old Social Security number with those from your new SSN. Even when the old credit information is not associated with your new SSN, the absence of any credit history under your new SSN may make it more difficult for you to get credit.
- Notify the passport office. If you have a passport, notify the U.S. Department of State Passport Services to be on the lookout for anyone ordering a new passport fraudulently.
- Call your telephone, electrical, gas, and water utility companies. Alert them to the possibility that someone may attempt to open new service using your identification. Also contact your long distance company.
- Contact a consumer credit counseling service. The nearest office of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service might be able to help you remove fraudulent claims from your credit report. Call 800-388-2227 for more information.
- Keep a log of all conversations in dealing with the authorities and financial institutions. In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates and names. Send correspondence by certified mail. Keep copies of all letters and documents. Provide your police report number to expedite reporting the crime.
- Consider seeking legal counsel. This is especially important if you have difficulty clearing up your credit history, or your case is complex and involves a lot of money. An attorney can help you recover from the fraud and determine whether your rights under various credit banking, Social Security number, and other laws have been violated.
- Pay attention to your own mental health. Victims of identity theft report that they often feel they are somehow to blame. They can also feel violated, even powerless, due in large part to the fact that few, if any, of the authorities who have been notified of the crime step forward to help the victim. Discuss your situation with a trusted friend or counselor. Seek help from a victims rights organization.
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Victim of Robbery
If you are the victim of a robbery, go to a safe location as close as possible to the robbery scene, and call the Aberdeen Police Department immediately at 911.
Helpful tips include:
- Give the dispatcher all the information you can about injuries, if any, the direction the suspect took, and any other information requested.
- Keep all witnesses at the scene until the police can interview them. If witnesses have to leave, get their name, address, and phone number.
- Don’t touch or move any evidence or items the suspect may have handled.
- Write down a complete description of the suspect, weapon (if any), and vehicle (if used).
- List all property taken along with serial numbers, if possible.
On arrival the officer will do the following:
- Make sure the scene is safe.
- Attain a brief synopsis of the incident and a description of the suspects and vehicle (if used).
- Relay information to the dispatcher so police units in the area can be informed.
- Secure the scene and check for physical evidence.
- Take a detailed report from the victim(s).
- Question all witnesses.
- Give the victim(s) an offense report number of the incident.
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Victim of Sexual Assault
If you are the victim of sexual assault, please call 911 to report the crime as soon as possible to the Aberdeen Police Department.
When the officer arrives, they will look for evidence at the scene and contact an investigator from the Detective Division. The investigator will interview the victim and ask for a written statement. Helpful tips include:
- Retain and recall as much information as possible about the attacker.
- Preserve all physical evidence. Do not take a bath, douche, wash, or change clothes or linens. Do not touch anything handled by the attacker.
- Notify your doctor and/or go the closest hospital emergency room for a medical examination and treatment. The examination and rape kit for collecting evidence will be paid for by the county if a police report is filed.
- Be sure to take clean clothing to wear after the examination.
- Clothing worn during the attack will be turned over to the police for laboratory analysis. If you do not bring clothing, Safe Harbor will give you clothing to wear home.
For more information , view tips to protect yourself.
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