Reporting Crime

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Over the last 10 months area law enforcement have seen a major spike in personal injury accidents and DUI arrests. Part of the reason for the upswing is simply more people are calling the police which helps police make a quick connection.

911, these three numbers can save your life. And now we can basically make that call anywhere at anytime thanks to cell phones.

Lt. Bob Springer with Winnebago County Sheriff Department says, "People using their cell phones to call 911 is quicker which gets info to us quicker which gets us to the scene quicker."

About 40% of the calls that come in to the 911 Center come from cell phones. And that mobility is bringing in calls law enforcement never used to get. Lt. Springer states, "Gas drive off's, people see someone drive-off next to them and report that, shoplifting."

There isn't a day that goes by that law enforcement says cell phone users make the call and then stay close behind giving up to the minute reports. Lt. Mike VanVleet with Illinois State Police states that, “We've seen it with DUI drivers, people that report those, tired drivers or reckless drivers."

And those calls are helping to solve crimes. Deputy Chief Theo Glover with the Rockford Police Department tells 23 News, "That hit and run fatality we received a call about that via cell phone. There are just so many incidents."

If you report an incident don't be alarmed if police call you back. As long as you call 911 via your cell phone law enforcement has your number.

Lt. Springer recalls, "We're able to identify potential witnesses right away even if they hang up we can record a cell phone number and have a way to call them back."

Illinois State Police have started a non-emergency number which is a free call for Verizon cell phone users. *SP will connect you to Illinois State Police Headquarters. It's a concept that more and more law enforcement agencies expect to explore in order to keep the lines of communication open.

Another number to keep in mind as we head into the winter driving months is that Illinois State Police weather and road condition number. The new number for IDOT is 1-800-452-IDOT.