When Should I Call 911?

When should I call 911? 

  • When you have a Police, Fire or Medical emergency.
  • There is a situation that could, or does, pose a danger to life, property or both.
  • There is a suspicious activity involving a person(s) or vehicle that appears to have criminal intent.
  • Any situation that requires immediate dispatch of an officer.
  • To report a serious crime, such as robbery, domestic violence or sexual assault.

Remain calm and patient while the 9-1-1 call taker asks you questions. 9-1-1 call takers are trained to ask specific questions that quickly determine what is wrong, and what type of assistance to send.

Please stay on the line until the call taker tells you to hang up.

When should I call the non-emergency number? 

The non-emergency number is (206) 625-5011

  • You want to report a nuisance, such as a noise or parking complaint.
  • To report a non-emergency crime - one that did not just occur, and the suspects are not in the immediate area.
  • You have questions about something suspicious occurring in your neighborhood, and you are not sure it is criminal activity.

The call taker will determine how best to handle your call. In some instances, your report may be processed over the phone or you will be referred to complete a police report online.

Area Wide Emergencies

  • In the case of an area-wide emergency, do not use your telephone for the first few hours following the event unless you have a life-threatening emergency and need to call 9-1-1.
  • If you must reach friends or family, call or text an out-of-area contact.
  • In an area-wide emergency, such as an earthquake, the best way to help yourself and your loved ones is to be prepared by having a plan in place and a kit prepared. Listening to a battery-powered radio is the best way to get information about an emergency.


Adrian Diaz, Chief of Police
Address: 610 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98104-1900
Mailing Address: PO Box 34986, Seattle, WA, 98124-4986
Phone: (206) 625-5011
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The Seattle Police Department (SPD) prevents crime, enforces laws, and supports quality public safety by delivering respectful, professional, and dependable police services. SPD operates within a framework that divides the city into five geographical areas called "precincts".