Crime Prevention

The San Mateo Police Department believes in arming our community with information to address crime in our city. For more information on how to be safe check out our crime prevention and safety tips below. Another great way to partner with us to make San Mateo safer is by joining Neighborhood Watch. This program is total resident participation in a police-community cooperative battle against neighborhood crime. To find out what’s going on in your neighborhood, check out our crime mapping tool.  

​See Something, Say Something

Our community is our extra eyes and ears and with that, we ask that you be a good witness and take charge of your community’s safety by calling the San Mateo Police Department as soon as possible to report a crime and/or emergencies. If You See Something Suspicious, Say Something Specific. Learn more about what is suspicious. For emergencies or crimes in progress call 9-1-1. For non-emergencies or calls for service where there is no exigent need for immediate police response, call (650) 522-7700. Our agency can now receive texts to 9-1-1 for those who may find themselves in a predicament where verbal communication cannot be made. A host of other no suspect police reports can be made online as well.

​How to be a good witness

Being a good witness means not placing yourself or others in danger. It is remaining calm enough to relay pertinent information to a police dispatcher, so the appropriate police response can be made. Dispatchers want to know the basics: What’s happening, where are you, who is involved. It is important to stay on the line until the dispatcher says it is ok for you to hang up. They may ask for a description of the person involved or the last known direction of travel (whether on foot or in a car), if there was vehicle description, etc. A good witness will be able to use their senses to aid in information sharing. What did you see, smell, and hear? If reporting suspicious behavior, you will need to advise what makes the behavior suspicious. It is important not to stereotype. 

​Tips for calling 9-1-1

In addition to the 9-1-1 FAQ, here are a few tips to remember when calling 9-1-1:
  • Stay calm. Excited callers are hard to understand. Expect dispatchers to repeat and/or confirm your information. We want to be as accurate as possible.
  • Clearly state the problem and don’t hang up until instructed to do so. This is also important in the event of a misdial. If we don’t physically speak with someone on the other end, a police response is required. Even if you dialed 9-1-1 by mistake, please stay on the line. 
  • Know your location. An address, cross street, or identifiable landmark is extremely helpful. Is there an apartment number? Is it north, south, east or west? Correlation will make our response time much faster.
  • Let the dispatcher control the conversation. They will need to ask pertinent and/or clarifying questions or provide instruction to you. Answer questions truthfully and as directly as possible. Don’t guess or assume. It is okay to say you don’t know. 

​Security camera registration

The San Mateo Police Department also keeps a registry of residences with home security cameras. San Mateo N.E.S.T. (Neighborhood Eyes Security Team) registration is purely voluntary and only provides officers with the physical address of residences with security cameras. By registering, you are not granting access into your systems. It is simply a quick list officers can peruse in order to locate homes close to a crime in order to request video footage in a quick manner. Registration does not release officers from conducting an area canvass for cameras, so you may still receive a knock on your door if your home has a security camera.
  1. Safety Tips
  2. City Ordinances