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Criminal Justice Concerns

If you see a bunch of police cars on your block and you want to know what all the commotion was about, you have a right to get some information. Just call 311 and ask. 

Be prepared to tell the police representative the exact time and place of the event. And if you have specific question, be sure you have them ready before you call. You can find out if a person was arrested and some other information, but they won't tell you over the phone the names of anybody arrested unless you are listed in the police report as a victim.

You can also find out who the officer in charge was and his/her badge number. You can call the officer with further questions and, depending on your need to know, you can get more answers. The more involvement you have with the crime, the more information you can get. When you call the officer, you'll probably get his voicemail. Leave your name and number and the officer will call you back.

If you are listed as a victim, make a request for a copy of the police report. If you don't, the chances are you'll regret it later. Let me repeat. If you are a victim, get a copy of the police report!

If you can get the PFN of the person you know or suspect was arrested, it will help. If you know the exact first and last name of the person and the date of the arrest, you can find the PFN online.

Here are four websites that will help you find out 
who's been arrested, when they appear in court, 
and when they are released.

Then there's  VINE. It will notify you minutes after a prisoner is released.

Click "Search and Register," then put in the inmate's PFN. 

Anyone can do it, you don't have to be a victim,  and it's anonymous.

For the Criminal Case Number Search, use this site:

These websites are also good for making print-outs to mail to landlords who sometimes need to be reminded that avoiding liability sometimes makes good business sense. (The law is especially clear about the criminal liability a landlord faces if he/she knowingly rents to someone involved in illegal drug sales.)

If you are trying to find out information and you run into a dead end, don't give up. Ask around.