The City of Lancaster wants to actively reduce crime in our area, and crime reduction starts with reporting. Whether you've seen suspicious activity, witnessed a crime-in-progress, or been a victim of crime, there are several options available to you to report it.
When to Call the Sheriff's [PDF, 182Kb]
Victims of Crime
If you have been a victim of a crime, report it! Whether it's as "small" as the theft of $10 from your bank account or as "large" as auto theft or armed robbery, nothing at all can be done if you don't say something.
Call 911 if you are the victim of a crime-in-progress that poses a threat to anyone's safety, such as a robbery, assault, burglary, or similar crimes, or for these sorts of crimes that have just occured (within the past five minutes). For all other crimes, call the Lancaster Sheriff's Station business line at (661) 948-8466.
For vandalisms involving graffiti, it is strongly recommended that you contact the Sheriff's Station directly instead of using the online form. Pictures of the graffiti are necessary to track and locate the perpetrators, and cannot be attached to the online form. Also, please see our Graffiti Removal page for more information.
*Thefts that cannot be reported online (contact the Sheriff's Station directly):
Burglary (theft from a residence or other building, except shoplifting)
Robbery (theft by force or fear of force; "stick-ups," "muggings," and armed robberies)
Vehicle burglary (theft from a locked car)
Any theft whose total value exceeds $5,000
Witnesses of Crime or Suspicious Activity
If you see a crime-in-progress, or see suspicious activity, report it! Call the Sheriff's Station, Crime Stoppers, or visit http://www.lacrimestoppers.com [link will open in a new window] to use the online tip submission form. For more information on submitting anonymous tips using Crime Stoppers: please visit our Anonymous Crime Tips page. Not sure if what you're seeing counts as "suspicious activity?" Download our tip-sheet at the top of this page.
Reporting Graffiti (When You're Not the Victim)
See graffiti? Not on your property or the property of someone you know? Not sure if it's been reported? You have options.
• Contact the City's Graffiti Removal hotline at (661) 723-5977. You will need to give the exact location (if you don't know and can't get the address, use the nearest cross-streets and be as descriptive as possible) and roughly describe the graffiti - is it on a building? On a sidewalk? Black spraypaint on a wall or green marker on a window? Does the graffiti contain obscenities? While the line is only staffed during business hours, a voicemail box is available for you to leave messages after-hours. Make sure to mention that you are NOT the victim and do not know who the victim is.
• Call the Sheriff's Station, give the location and time you saw it, and ask if it's been reported. If it hasn't or it's unknown if it has, the dispatcher can send a Community Service Officer to document the graffiti and write a report. This is appropriate only when the graffiti covers a large area affecting multiple properties (such as along an alleyway or down an entire block or businesses), and is best when you are able to stick around to talk to the officer to give details, such as when you noticed it - details that are important to pin down the time of occurence and possible suspects.
If you know who the victim of the graffiti is, contact that person or business and ask them to file a police report or contact Graffiti Removal. If you're not available to give a statement for a police report, or don't know if you will be, write down your name, address, and contact phone number, as well as what time and date you noticed the graffiti, and give it to the property owner to have the information added to the report.
Letter of Agency
If you are the owner (or agent for the owner) of a business or vacant property, you can file a Letter of Agency with the Lancaster Sheriff's Station to give authority to the Sheriff's Department to detain and arrest trespassers and other individuals who shouldn't be at your property. Please visit the link above for more information.