Crime Prevention

Providing Law Enforcement with Good Information

How to Describe a Person

Depending on the situation and considering your personal safety, take a good look at the suspect, so that you will be better able to describe the suspect later.  Here are some of the things to look for and to report:

  • Sex, Race, Complexion, Age
  • Height (estimate in 2 inch blocks; For example 5’8” and 5’10”)
  • Weight (estimate in blocks of 10 pounds, for example 130 to 140 pounds)
  • Build – large, medium, small, stocky, fat, slender, or thin, plus any distinguishing feat ures on parts of the body (tattoos, eyeglass es, etc.)
  • Hair – color, thick or thin, balding or full, sideburns
  • Mustache or beard – describe including color
  • Clothing – type, color, style (start at top and work down: hat, coat shirt, pants, shoes)
  • Method of escape – on foot, vehicle or bicycle

Example: Male, white, approximately 45 years old, between 5 foot 6 and 5 foot 8, 150 – 160 pounds, medium build, gray hair, and long sideburns.  Wearing a blue baseball cap, no coat, white shirt, dark pants and sneakers.  Last seen at 1st Street and  Slauson Avenue and headed toward the  Ladera Park area (and whether the suspect was on foot, bike, or in a car).

How to Describe a Vehicle

It is also important to be attentive to the details of vehicles.  Try to make note of the following features and report them:

  • Color, make, and year
  • Body type – sedan, two-door, convertible, station wagon
  • License number (specific state)

Other identification – exterior attachments, damage, bumper stickers, window decals, etc.

Example: A black, late model Ford, four-door sedan, California license number ABC1234, large dent on rear passenger door, and Oakland Raiders decal on rear window.

The guidelines above are primarily for stationary vehicles.  On occasion, you may have to describe moving vehicles, perhaps escaping from the scene of an incident.  Try to note the following:.

  • Color, make, year, and plate (as above)
  • Direction of Travel

Source: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department