5 W’s + 1 H

There are 6 basic questions that your reports should cover. They are often referred to as the 5 Wu2019s + 1 H:

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Who

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Statements and evidence that explain evidence about the suspect such as:

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  • Complete names with correct spelling.
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  • Race, sex, hair color, eye color, approximate height, weight, age, and clothing description.
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  • If a vehicle is involved, include the year, model, color, and license plate number.
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  • Aliases used
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  • Statements and evidence from witnesses and victims such as:
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  • Complete names with correct spelling.
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  • Occupations or participant information.
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  • Driver license or other ID numbers if available.
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  • Home and work addresses for witnesses and victims.
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  • Contact numbers for someone that can get in touch with witnesses or victims
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What

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Statements or evidence that explain:

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  • Type of offense committed
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  • Property involved
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  • Statements
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  • Actions
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  • Means of travel, entry, etc.
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When

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Statements or evidence that explain:

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  • When the offense happened.
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  • When it was discovered.
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  • When was it reported.
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  • When was any evidence located.
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  • When were witnesses or victims contacted.
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  • When were arrests made.
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  • What time of time of day.
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Where

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Statements or evidence that explain:

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  • Locations of all offenses and evidence.
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  • Any reference points used to determine distance.
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  • Types of areas involved (residential, business, public area, etc.).
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  • Where were the victims, witnesses, and suspects in relation to the crime.
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  • Note the address where the incident occurred.
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Why

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Statements or evidence that support the reason the incident occurred.

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  • Revenge
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  • Drug addiction
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  • Financial gain etc.
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How

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Statements or evidence that explain:

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  • How the offense occurred and how the persons involved come to be participants.
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  • How the suspect approached, entered, or exited.
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  • How the security officer or law enforcement was notified.
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  • How scene and all those encountered appear.
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  • Any breaches in protocol or security at the time of the incident and other factors that might have led to the occurrence.
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