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 Frequently Asked Questions
Hit & Run
Lost and Found
Juvenile Offender
Child Abuse
Domestic Violence
Sexual Assault


How do I report the serial numbers for my stolen items?

Complete an “Additional Loss Form” and mail it back to us or fax it.  If the officer did not give you this form, we can mail or fax a copy of the form to you.


How do I get a copy of my police report?

Send a request in writing with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

(Be sure to include your case number)

Hall of Justice
Records Bureau
850 Bryant St. #475
San Francisco, CA  94103
You can also call the Records Bureau at: (415) 553-1271


How can I make my home or neighborhood more secure?  

We can refer you to “Project S.A.F.E.”  They can provide free residential home security surveys and assistance with starting a neighborhood watch program.  Fee services are also provided for commercial establishments.  To find out more information, please click onto their website at:  www.sfsafe.org


Can I check the pawnshops for my stolen items?

Information on pawnshops can be obtained at our Fencing unit.


Should I go to the pawnshops to look for my stolen property?

This may not be initially helpful for the following reasons.  When someone “pawns” an item, they are really getting a loan for 4 months and during that time, the pawnshops are prohibited from putting the item on display.
If someone sells an item outright to the pawnshop, the pawnshop has to wait 30 days before they can put the item on display.


Should I go into the pawnshop and ask the pawnbroker if they have my item?

The pawnbrokers do as many as 200 transactions per day.  Unless you have such an absolutely unique item e.g. such as a rare violin, it could jog the memory of the pawnbroker.

While pawnbrokers are trying to change the image the industry has had, they often ask people to contact the police since we have ALL records of pawned property.

So a better approach is to put that unique description in your initial police report.  Follow up by contacting the Inspector to put that item on the Fencing Unit’s  “watch” list.

Remember, if you provided serial numbers in your police report or follow up report, our staff will be checking the serial numbers of every pawned item to see if we have a match in the police database system.


What if, after the holding period, the item is put out on display and I see it?

Call the San Francisco Police main number (415) 553-0123 and tell them you are at a certain pawn shop and believe you have spotted your stolen property.  A unit will be dispatched to your location to interview you and the pawnbroker.  The best outcome to prevent civil liability is for the Officer to simply place a “Police Hold” on your item.  That hold is a sure way of protecting your property.  Pawnbrokers absolutely honor a Police Hold because they know they will lose their license if anything happens to that property.

After the hold is placed, the police report is forwarded to an Inspector who then reviews the report (always make a report when something is lost or stolen!).  The Inspector then gathers further evidence of your ownership so that we can prove that the property is yours.

Sometimes the most sincere victims will make a mistake.  A professional musician came in to report that her guitar, which had been stolen a month ago, was in a local shop.  She did not have the serial numbers but said that it had special scratches caused by the unique way she played.  The Inspector went to the pawnshop and the pawnbroker was able to show records that the guitar had been in his shop for over a year.  It definitely was not hers.  Most items have unique numbers.  Record them or create your own where possible.


How can you protect your valuables?

List all your valuables including serial numbers and items with identifiable markings.  A copy of this list should be kept at another location besides your home. 

Photograph all properties and also store them at another location


How can the police locate my stolen property?

Serialized items are entered in a national database system of stolen properties.  Police agencies across the United States can utilize the system by checking serialized items that were pawned, found or recovered in a crime.  A matched item can then be traced back to its rightful owner.


Frequently Asked Question

1. What happens to fraud reports that aren't investigated?
All fraud reports are entered into our computer for reporting and statistical purposes.

2. What is the most common reason for my credit card or check fraud report not being assigned for investigation?
Our staff of 12 Inspectors get approximately 8,000 fraud reports a year. Investigators are not assigned to reports if the victim or company involved does not suffer a financial loss because the financial institution will reimburse the account owner.

3. What other reasons prevent my report from being assigned?
There is insufficient evidence, such as eye witnesses and associated documents, to determine and prove in court, who did this crime, or where and when they did it. Based upon the facts contained in your police report, we were unable to determine where the crime occurred or which agency has jurisdiction to investigate. You should contact the financial institution(s) involved to obtain this information, as they are not allowed to provide police with customer account information. When you are able to tell us where the crime occurred, we can forward your report to the appropriate agency for investigation. Or, you can make a report directly to that agency, if you like.

4. What do I need to have my fraud report reviewed?
The court requires documentation of the financial loss being reported, such as account statements, application forms, credit receipts, or canceled checks.

5. If my problem is not a crime, what else can I do?
If a situation does not violate the law, you may be able to pursue civil remedies, such as making your complaint to a regulatory agency, entering mediation or arbitration with the other party, or even suing in civil court to recover damages. You may wish to consult with an attorney or the San Francisco Small Claims court, which conducts free sessions for those interested.

6. How do I file a report involving "NSF" (non-sufficient funds) checks or closed account checks?
Reports of bad checks should be filedwith the District Attorney's Bad Check Enforcement Unit, 732 Brannan St., San Francisco, CA 94103, tel. (415) 551-9503.

7. How do I report internet crime?
If the crime occurred over the Internet it should be reported to the National White Collar Crime Center, tel. (304) 363-4312, or on the web site, ifccfbi.gov.

8. Why is my case not being investigated?
There is insufficient evidence, such as eye witnesses and associated documents, to determine and prove in court, who did this crime, or where and when they did it.

9. How do I report a crime involving theft of mail?
Reports involving theft of United States Mail are sent to U.S. Postal Inspectors for investigation. You can contact them for further information at tel. (415) 778-5911.

10. How do I report a crime involving counterfeit currency?
These reports are sent to U.S. Secret Service for investigation. You can contact them for further information at tel. (415) 744-9026.

11. I want to talk to someone about my report.
If you need to speak to someone about your report, call us at the Fraud Detail, tel. (415) 553-1521.

12. How can I get someone to speak to my community group regarding fraud?
If you need a speaker to talk about fraud prevention to your community group located in San Francisco call us at the Fraud Detail, tel. (415) 553-1521.

Hit and Run

If you are inquiring about a fatal, serious injury accident, DUI with injury, felony pursuits, and arrests call (415) 553-1641 to speak to an Inspector for follow-up.

If you are inquiring about a Property damage only type of incident, refer to the following:

1.      Hit and Run – suspect vehicle plate

If you have provided a license plate to the suspect vehicle and the information that was supplied to the Police is accurate; A letter will have the registered owner’s information and options on how this case can be resolved.
2.      Hit and Run – No suspect vehicle plate

If you have not provided a License plate to the suspect vehicle, this case will be filed and no further action will be taken at this time.

  • Vehicle Tows
    If you are inquiring about your vehicle being towed, contact and/or respond to the hit and run detail.
  • Police Reports
    You or your insurance company can request a copy of your report by writing your name, address, and the case number and send it with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

San Francisco Police Department
Thomas J. Cahill Hall of Justice
Records Room, 475
850 Bryant Street
San Francisco, CA. 94103-4603

Please allow at least 10 business days for processing. Note that all request for copies of the police reports will be handled by the record room in the order that they are received.

Note that if the sole purpose for pursuing your complaint of criminal charges against the other party is for recovering monetary damages, the SFPD cannot assist you in this matter.

Civil Charges can be pursued in the following manner…

  • 1. You can turn the vehicle information over to your insurance company, or
  • 2. You can consult with a private Attorney-at-Law, or
  • 3. You can file a claim with the Small Claims Court (limit $5,000.00).

How do I file in Small Claims Court?

In the event you choose to seek civil recourse using the Small Claims Court, the following information may be of assistance:

  • Small Claims Court has a limit of $5,000.
  • Interpreters are available for a fee. Otherwise, bring a friend to help you translate.
  • California residency or U.S. citizenship is not required.
  • You must represent yourself in court. Attorneys are not allowed in court, unless they represent a company.
  • A small Claims Advisor is available to answer your questions and give limited legal advice, at (415) 292-2124, M-F, 8:30 – 11:30 & 1PM – 4PM.

Where to File
Small Claims Division, Civic Center Courthouse
400 McAllister Street, Room 103
San Francisco, CA 94102-4514
Hours M-F, 8AM – 4:30 PM

How to File

1. You must have demanded payment from the party in writing, and have been refused or ignored.

2. You must complete and file the proper forms in Court. Filing forms, or the Small Claims Booklet, may be obtained by mailing a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Court,. Extra postage is required. Call for proper postage to apply, based on your order.

3. File your claim forms at the County Court House (address above), M-F, 8AM – 4PM.

4. You will be notified by mail of a court date within 30 to 70 days of filing.

5. You must have the person being sued legally served with your forms.

7. You must submit Proof of Service to the Court before the hearing date.

Lost and Found

What should I do when I loose an item?

You can make a report at your local police station or call the Teleserve unit at 553-0123.  Notify all your credit card companies, banks, cell phone carrier, etc.  


What can I do besides contacting the police?

Try to retrace your steps from the last time you saw your item.  If you were in a public place like a restaurant, store, etc., ask the employees if they found any items that match your property description.


Can I check the pawnshops for my lost item?

When someone pawns an item, they are getting a loan for 4 months. During that time, the pawnshops are prohibited to display the item. If someone sells the item outright to the pawnshop, the pawnshop is required by law to wait 30 days before releasing it for display. 


How can I help the police locate my item if it was pawned?

Pawnshops are required by law to submit a copy of every transaction.  It is important that you have a complete description of your item including serial number when reporting it lost to the police.  The Fencing unit can then keep an eye out for any possible matches.


How can I claim an item I found?

 One week before the end of the 120 days period, call the Lost and Found Unit and supply them with the case number. 


Where can I get information on auctioned items?

You can go to the police auction website at: www.propertyroom.com


How do I get a copy of my report?

Send a request in writing with a self-addressed stamped envelope to:

(Be sure to include your case number)

Hall of Justice
Records Bureau
850 Bryant St., #475
San Francisco, CA  94103

You can also call the Records Bureau at (415) 553-1271

Juvenile Offender

Is it the age of the victim or the suspect that determines the assigning of the report?

 It is the age of the suspect that is the determining factor. the supect must be under 18 yrs old at the time of the incident.


Are the members assigned to this unit employees of the juvenile probation department?

No. the members assigned to this unit are sworn police offficers of the san francisco police department.


Does this unit handle all incidents where a juvenile is the suspect?

No. if juvenile commits a robbery, it is assigned to the robbery detail. this same example holds true for other crimes ie: auto theft, burglary, fraud and so forth.


Are juveniles “housed” at the juvenile division?

No. juveniles are kept in custody at youth guidence center located at 375 woodside ave.


If a juvenile is arrested, whom should i contact?

If a juvenile has been arrested at the time of the initial incident or because of subsequent investigation it is the responsibility of the juvenile probation department to proceed with all other criminal proceedures.


What are the hours of operation of this unit?

The hours are 8:00 am till 5:00pm monday through friday. the office phone number. (415) 558-5500.

Domestic Violence

Q: What should I do if I was the victim of a domestic violence incident?

A: You should file a police incident report if you were the victim of a domestic violence incident so that there is a record of the abuse. In addition, the responding police officers will offer you advocacy services that can include temporary emergency housing, counseling information, restraining order and legal information and services for your children.

You can file a police incident report by calling the San Francisco Police Department (911 for an emergency or 415.553.0123 for a non-emergency) or by going into any district police station.

Q: What should I do if the person who abused me was arrested?

A: If the person who abused you was arrested for a felony charge you will need to contact the San Francisco Police Department – Domestic Violence Response Unit (415.553.9225) on the next business day following the arrest. Please have your police incident report number available and ask to speak to the Inspector handling your case.

If the person who abused you was arrested for a misdemeanor charge you will need to contact the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office (415.553.1752) on the next business day following the arrest. Please have your police incident report number available and ask to speak to the Deputy District Attorney handling Domestic Violence cases in Department 18.

If you are unsure what the abuser was charged with, you can contact the San Francisco Police Department – Domestic Violence Response Unit (415. 553.9225) for assistance. Please have your police incident report number available.

Q: What should I do if I have filed a police incident report, but the person who abused me was not arrested?

A: You may request to open a police investigation for the purpose of obtaining a criminal arrest warrant for the person who abused you. You will need to come to the San Francisco Police Department’s Domestic Violence Response Unit at 850 Bryant St., Room 561, San Francisco, CA 94103 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please ask to speak to the Officer of the Day. The District Attorney’s Office and a Superior Court Judge make the final decision regarding the issuance of a criminal arrest warrant.

Q: I was injured and had to take time off of work because of a domestic violence incident. Is there any way to have my medical bills paid for and reclaim my lost wages?

A: The Family Violence Project (415.553.1865) can assist eligible victims in applying to the State Victims’ Compensation Fund. This program may cover medical, mental health and loss of wages expenses. The Family Violence Project is located at 850 Bryant St., Room 310, San Francisco, CA 94103.

Q: Often times my children have been present when I have been abused. Are there any services to help my children deal with the violence in our home?

A: There are several programs available to help children who have been exposed to violence. You can contact Safe Start (415.565.SAVE), the Family Violence Project (415. 1865) and/or Mt. Zion Violence Prevention Project/L.I.N.C. (885.7636) and ask what services they have available to assist your child(ren) in dealing with the violence.

Q: What is a Domestic Violence Restraining Order and what does it do?

A: A Domestic Violence Restraining Order is a court order issued by a civil court judge. The order may prohibit an individual from contacting, harassing or bothering the applicant. Some orders determine temporary custody of children or tenancy. Restraining Orders are valid throughout California and the United States, and a violation of any term of the order is a crime.

Q: How can I get a Domestic Violence Restraining Order?

A: In order to file for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order you will need to go to 400 McAllister St., Room 103, San Francisco, CA 94102 and complete an application. If you need assistance completing the application forms, you can contact W.O.M.A.N. Inc. at 415.864.4722 to make an appointment to attend a restraining order clinic.

Child Abuse

How are child abuse cases reported?


In person to the police department via the district stations, by phone call to the social services child abuse hotline 415-558-2650, by letter to the child abuse hotline or to our unit, DHS is located at 170 Otis St. SF CA 94110. The police juvenile division and family services division is located at 3401 17th St. CA 94110

Who must report suspected cases of child abuse.


All mandated reporters as listed in the penal code, ie:any professional who is involved with children or receives information that a child may be abused.

What information is needed in a child abuse report?


The names of children and siblings if known, names of parents if known, location of children and the name of the offender if known, name of mandated reporter or name of non mandated reporter, note: a non mandated reporter can remain anonymous

How will the child be interviewed?


If this involves a sexual incident, a joint interview, with a member of the police, social services, district attorney's office and the hospital staff of san francisco general hospital (SFGH). The interview will be conducted at a special facility located at San Francisco General Hospital. In all cases, only a trained member of this group (with the exception of the DA) will interview the child. The interview room is child friendly. Only the child and the interviewer are in this room. All others view the interview from behind a one way mirror. If a member of the child's family is suspected of child abuse, the police along with social services will conduct a preliminary interview with the child at the child's school, day care. This provides us with the ability to protect the children from the offender and allow more time for a complete investigation.

What are the hours of operation of The Child Abuse Unit?


The office is open Monday thru Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM. For additional information call 415 558-5500.

Sexual Assualt

How to report a sexual assault?
 If the assault just occurred, dial 911 immediately. If time has lapsed since the incident, you may call the non-emergency police number, 415-553-0123 or respond to your closest Police Station.
I want help, but not sure if I want to make a police report?
 Go to San Francisco General Hospital Emergency and be seen by their competent and caring medical staff who will provide you with help and support whether or not you want to report the incident to the police.
Why do I need to go to San Francisco General Hospital?
 The specially trained Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners at San Francisco General Hospital provides the best services that can be provided to a sexual assault victim. These specially trained nurses are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
What happens when I go to San Francisco General Hospital?
 Highly trained sensitive nurses who have substantial experience in general nursing and a specialized training in forensic nursing. They will provide for your comfort, answer any medical questions, conduct a physical exam and collect any physical evidence, which relate to the crime.
What happens when I report a sexual assault?
 Depends on the nature of the assault and how quickly it is reported. Soon after the victim meets with medical personnel, a victim advocate will be called to help. If the victim desires to report to the police, initial information will be obtained and a preliminary investigation will commence. In many cases, an Inspector from the Sexual Assault Section will respond immediately to meet with the victim.
I made a report, now how do I follow it up?
Call the Sexual Assault Section and give the case number. The Inspector assigned to your case will speak to you or contact you regarding your case. If the Inspector did not respond to the hospital to meet you, your case will be assigned the next business day and the Inspector will be available after 10:00 am that day to discuss your case.
Victim is a friend or family member; can I contact the Sexual Assault Section on their behalf?
Family members are welcome to contact the Sexual Assault Section, but bare in mind that the nature of these crimes are highly personal and their may be limits as to what the Inspector can discuss with others beside the victim. Office staff will however assist you to their greatest extent.
Is there a cost for the Hospital, Police Services, Victim Advocates, etc?
Last updated: 12/21/2015 11:27:23 AM