Write a Police Report!

Here’s a true story about a theft. Your challenge: Write this up as a police report, with you as the investigating officer. You can scroll down to see how it’s done – but why not try writing it yourself first? It’s great practice!

Frank Smith called the police to report a stolen watch. A man pretending to be a vacuum cleaner salesman did a demonstration in Smith’s home. Then another man, who said he was the manager, also came into Smith’s home.

Later on, Smith realized that his expensive watch was missing. He’d left it in the kitchen, and then two men went in there to get paper towels to clean the vacuum they were demonstrating. Smith said the watch cost about $1,500, and he’d left it on the kitchen counter. 

The first man was white. About halfway through the demonstration a black male showed up and Patrick introduced him as his manager. The next day, around 4 p.m., he realized his watch was missing from the kitchen counter where he had left it.

The white male was described as 5’ 7” with a thin build. The black male was 6’, thin build, approximately 25 years of age. They were in a black Impala with tinted windows.

Did you try writing it yourself? If you did, here’s one version that you can use for comparison. How did you do?

I spoke to Frank Smith, who reported the theft of a watch valued at about $1,500. Smith told me that a white male who identified himself as Patrick came his home at around 6:45 p.m. June 8 and asked to demonstrate a vacuum cleaner he was selling. Smith allowed him inside. About halfway through the demonstration a black male showed up, and Patrick introduced him as his manager.

They finished the demonstration and asked for paper towels so they could clean the vacuum.

Smith said he told them to go in the kitchen to get the supplies. The next day, around 4 p.m., Smith realized his watch was missing from the kitchen counter where he had left it. He believes one of the subjects took the watch. He said the white male was 5’ 7” with a thin build. The black male was 6’ with a thin build, approximately 25 years of age. They were in a black Impala with tinted windows.

Here are a few comments from me:

  • You don’t need to give the address, the date, and the time you arrived at Smith’s home if you’ve typed them elsewhere on your laptop.
  • The original story jumps around and has some repetition. Don’t be sidetracked! Tell what happened, step-by-step. Don’t make the report harder than it has to be!
  • Avoid passive voice: “The white male was described as 5’ 7” with a thin build.” Who described the white male? Obviously it was Frank Smith. Say so! “Frank Smith said the white male was  5’ 7” with a thin build.”

How did you do?

Vacuum cleaner

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