How to be a Good Witness – Part Three

As promised, here is the final installment for my mini-series on ‘How to be a Good Witness’.

So you’ve found yourself in the position where a crime unfolds itself right in front of you, and you are fortunate enough to have in your possession a fully charged cell phone. You are able to make the call in to 911, and as you are speaking to the call taker, the suspect in the crime flees the scene.  Besides getting a good description of the suspect and his mode of transportation, the next most important bit of information you can give the police is the suspects direction of travel.

“Which way did he go?” 

You would be amazed at how often a witness is not able to answer this question.  Maybe the witness is in a part of town they are unfamiliar with, or they are just not that adept at figuring out which way is North.  This is okay, we understand when this happens – even the best are sometimes stumped when trying to figure out which way is up.  But what happens with some regularity is the witness, with the absolute best intentions, guesses as to which direction the suspect fled in.  When this occurs the police have, at best, a one-in-four chance of starting off in the right direction.  And when it comes to crimes and the suspects fleeing them, time is of the essence.  If you do not know which way the suspects have gone, do not guess.  You are better off waiting until a police officer shows up to speak with you.

Now, here are a couple tips (mostly landmarks) to help you figure out ‘which way is up’ when you are in Vancouver:

  • North – when you can see the North Shore Mountains, or the lights on the ski hills
  • South – the direction you go when you drive to the airport/Richmond
  • East – the direction you go when you drive to Burnaby/Metrotown/Coquitlam/Port Mann Bridge
  • West – towards downtown/Stanley Park/English Bay/where the fireworks take place in the summer

Even I have been stymied on where the heck I’ve been on a few occasions, and I am a born & raised Vancouverite.  So please, if you are unsure about ‘direction of travel’, you are better off admitting to this than sending us off to chase our tails with a guess.

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2 Responses to "How to be a Good Witness – Part Three"

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