The Borrowed Bicycle

Below is a summary of a recent police report that was released to the media. Pretend you were a supervisor as you read the report. What changes would you recommend?

Police said a 45-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted Friday afternoon in the 400 block of Carroll Boulevard after confronting another woman about a borrowed bicycle, according to a police report.

Officers responded to the incident around 5:30 p.m. in the 700 block of Fort Worth Drive, where the woman called police. The caller told police she confronted the woman because she wanted her to return a bicycle she had borrowed.

Their verbal argument escalated into a physical altercation, the report states. The woman who borrowed the bike pushed the caller to the ground and wrestled with her for a few moments, according to the report.

Police observed abrasions on the victim’s ankle, knee and forehead.

Here are my comments:

  1.  Overall this is a professional, objective report. Well done!
  2. Delete verbal. There’s no difference between an argument and a verbal argument. Police officers are busy people with no time for unnecessary words.
  3.  Change “abrasions” to scrapes, bruises, or scratches. Use ordinary words whenever you can. Be as specific as you can.
  4. Change “physical altercation” to fight. Again, use ordinary words whenever you can.
  5.  The sentence below is confusing. Never use she when there are two women in a sentence:

The caller told police she confronted the woman because she wanted her to return a bicycle she had borrowed.

In my version, I changed the second “she” to the suspect. Now the sentence is easier to understand:

The caller told police the suspect had borrowed a bicycle and didn’t return it. The caller demanded her bicycle back.

a red women's bicycle

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