Emergency vs non-emergency calls

When to call 9-1-1

9-1-1 is for police, fire, or medical emergencies when immediate action is required: someone’s health, safety or property is in jeopardy or a crime is in progress.

Examples of when to call 9-1-1

  • An event that involves an immediate threat to a person or property: screams, attacks, gunshots, fire, car accident with injuries or any other medical emergency
  • A substantive, in-progress crime. This includes fights, break and enters (if there is a suspect on scene) or a report of an impaired driver
  • A serious crime that has just occurred (e.g., sexual assault or robbery)
  • A suspicious circumstance that may indicate an immediate criminal act (e.g., prowler, vandal)

When to call police: non-emergency

Non-emergency numbers for all police departments are posted on our website and listed in your phone book. Please do not call 9-1-1 for the non-emergency numbers. Use this number for non-emergency situations where an immediate response or dispatch of the police is NOT required.

Examples of non-emergency calls

  • Reporting a crime with no suspect (e.g., theft of a licence plate)
  • Reporting a crime with suspect, but suspect is not on the scene (e.g., fraud)
  • Reporting a serious crime with suspect, but with a lengthy delay (e.g., assault that occurred last night at a bar)
  • Non-emergency in-progress (e.g., noisy party, drug use)
  • On-going crime issues or crimes that are not in-progress (e.g., graffiti or ongoing drug dealing with no suspect on scene)
  • A suspicious circumstance that may indicate an ongoing criminal activity (e.g., marijuana grow operation)

See our Emergency vs. non-emergency calls brochure for more information on when to call 9-1-1. This brochure is also available in the following languages:

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