Crimes happen every day in the United States, and in the event witnesses are present, their firsthand accounts of what they saw are crucial to helping solve cases.
Sgt. Michael Davis with the San Antonio Police Department said many times, people have a hard time recalling the details of what they saw because they are in such a state of surprise as the event is happening.
“It shocks you,” Davis said. "The violence of whatever it is, it's normally a violent crime, and so it kind of closes you down, and that makes people focus sometimes, on the wrong things.”
Davis said witnesses will sometimes have different accounts of what they saw and getting a consistent record of what actually took place can be a challenge.
If ever someone does witness a crime in action, Davis recommends the person step back, remain calm and pay attention to detail.
“Start remembering different things, about age, gender, sex,” Davis said. “Talking about the height, color of their skin, any moles or tattoos.”
Many times, Davis said even the smallest of details are the ones that can break a case wide open, so it’s important to take a mental note of very specific details.