BSO’s Victim Services Unit was established to render assistance to crime victims and witnesses. The unit offers a variety of programs designed to meet the special needs of those who have been exposed to crimes.
The Broward Sheriff's Office Victim / Witness Handbook includes information on your rights and other helpful information. Contact the unit at (954) 321-4200 or visit your local BSO district office to request a copy.
Call Broward County Crime Stoppers immediately at (954) 493-TIPS.
For many years, Crime Stoppers' tip lines have been used successfully as a tool for citizens to anonymously report information regarding crimes. During this time of heightened awareness of the threats of terrorism, Crime Stoppers is prepared to handle terrorism-related calls as well.
In keeping with Crime Stoppers policy, callers may remain anonymous and are eligible for a reward of up to $15,000 if the information provided leads to an arrest.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security works to anticipate, preempt, detect and deter threats to the homeland and to safeguard our people and their freedoms, critical infrastructure, property and the economy of our nation from acts of terrorism, natural disasters and other emergencies. Click here for more information.
A sexual assault crime is any sexual act committed against a person's will and includes rape, incest, unwanted touching and indecent exposure. Sexual battery requires penetration.
Victims and attackers of sexual assault crimes are from all ages and backgrounds. Attackers are usually someone the victim knows: a partner, friend or family member, but can also be strangers.
It's important to remember that sexual assault is not the victim's fault and no one deserves to be sexually assaulted.
If you are a victim, remember these important things:
- Get to a safe place, a friend's or neighbor's house or any place where people can give you emotional support.
- Don't shower, douche, brush your teeth or change clothes. This may be difficult for you but it's important. Doing any of these things could destroy medical evidence.
- Report the attack as soon as possible by calling BSO or your local police department. Reporting attacks is an important part of ending violence against women.
- Even if you don't believe you're injured, you should protect your health. Seek medical testing for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and address any concerns about pregnancy.
- When you report a rape, an evidence examination will occur. The exam involves removing clothing in a way that preserves evidence, performing a physical and vaginal exam and documenting any injuries, possibly with photos.
- Following the exam, law enforcement personnel will ask questions about the attacker's identity and the details of the assault. Some questions may need to be answered more than once.
- This procedure is not easy for many women following a rape, but it's crucial if the attacker is to be successfully prosecuted.
Experience has shown the first 60 seconds of every 9-1-1 call are the most critical. Operators need to determine the exact location of the emergency, the nature of the situation, whether anyone is injured and about what elements a responding officer should be advised. A deputy armed with this information can react quickly and accurately and minimize the chance that further damage will occur or innocent bystanders will be hurt.
In any threatening emergency, immediately dial 9-1-1 from any telephone (the call is free from all pay phones). For non-emergency law enforcement needs, please call the Broward Sheriff's Office at (954) 765-4321.
If you are a crime victim or if you witness a crime, your observations can lead to a faster resolution of the case.
When you report a crime, a Broward Sheriff's Office Communications Operator will ask you to describe the suspect(s) you observed. NEVER place your personal safety or the safety of those around you in jeopardy to get a better description of a subject, but if possible, make a mental picture of the suspect(s) by scanning the individual(s) from top to bottom, and outside to inside.
Note the most obvious information first: race, sex, approximate age, weight and height. Then note hair and eye color, complexion and any distinguishing features such as glasses, scars, facial hair, etc.
Notice what the person is wearing, starting with the outside layer of clothing. Many times a suspect may remove outerwear to elude law enforcement officers.
If you're describing a vehicle, remember the acronym CYMBALS:
C - color
Y - year
M - make
B - body
A - additional descriptive features
L - license
S - state
During a break-in, the safety of you and your loved ones should be your primary concern, not the protection of your property. No possession is worth risking a human life.
If someone is breaking into your home, you and those in the house should leave immediately. Choose an exit, a window or door, that is safely away from the intruder. Go to a neighbor's home and dial 9-1-1.
If you cannot escape, quickly move everyone into one room that has a phone and lock and barricade the door. Immediately call 9-1-1 and be prepared to give the operator your address and other details including the color of your house, location of any fencing, status of outdoor lights and other information that may be required. The operator will remain on the phone with you as police respond and will continue to ask questions and provide information.
The use of weapons to protect yourself is a dangerous option. In a face-to-face confrontation, your weapon may be taken from you and used against you. Weapons have also been used against law enforcement officers or family members that were mistaken for intruders. The use of any weapon or deadly force is a last resort, even for highly trained police officers.
Because of the way cellular telephone calls are routed, calls to 9-1-1 may not reach the proper dispatch operators. Generally, the police agency that receives a cellular 9-1-1 call is determined by the origination of the call in relation to a specific cellular tower. The Broward Sheriff's Office has received 9-1-1 calls from cellular users in central Miami-Dade County and from as far west as the city of Sunrise.
If you are reporting an emergency via cellular telephone, it's crucial to inform the 9-1-1 operator of your exact location. The appropriate and closest response can then be activated.
If you have information about a crime, witnessed a crime, or have overheard someone discussing participation in a crime, don't be afraid to report it. In fact, you could receive up to $3,000 for your anonymous tip.
Broward County residents have helped make BSO's CrimeStoppers unit consistently one of the nation's top performers. That means with the help of the community, more cases are solved, arrests are made, and property is recovered. Convictions as a result of crime stoppers tips range about 95%.
If you have information regarding a crime, call CrimeStoppers at (954) 493-TIPS or
We won't ask for your name or for any information about you. There's no Caller ID. You remain completely anonymous. You'll be given a code number, and if your information leads to an arrest, that code number gets you the reward.