When you're the victim of a crime or a witness to criminal activity, you probably know that you'll need to make a police report, but do you also know that, in addition to calling 911, there are multiple ways to file a report with the police? At the San Antonio Police Department, for crimes such as identity theft or property damage, you can file police reports online through the SAPD online portal. For nonemergencies, you can also make a report by phone by calling the SAPD nonemergency number or going in person to your local SAPD substation. Once a police report is generated, the Texas Public Information Act allows the public to access public records, including police reports and incident reports. You can request a copy of a police report online, by mail or in person.
File Crimes Through the SAPD Online Portal
Only certain crimes can be reported through the San Antonio Police Department’s online portal. Do not make a report online if there is an emergency or if, for any reason, you need a police officer to be dispatched to your location. You can file online police reports only for these incidents:
- Burglary of a Coin-Operated Machine. If you are the owner of a coin-op machine, and an unknown person broke into your machine and took money, you can file a police report online.
- Criminal Mischief/Property Damage. You can file an online police report if an unknown person damaged your personal property, such as your home, fence or car, and the value of the damage is $500 or less.
- Graffiti. If an unknown person puts graffiti on your property, and the value of the damage is $500 or less, you can file an online police report.
- Generic Information. If you have information about a previously reported incident, the SAPD will accept an online police information report.
- Lost Property. For property such as a purse, laptop, cellphone or ID card that is lost, but not stolen, you should file an online information report with the SAPD. If, however, the lost property is a firearm, you must call in a report to the nonemergency SAPD phone number.
- Obscene, Harassing or Threatening Phone Calls. If you have received obscene, harassing or threatening phone calls and do not feel you are in immediate danger, you can report this crime online.
- Theft of Gasoline. If you own a gas station or a convenience store, and an unknown suspect stole gas, beer or cigarettes valued at $500 or less, you can file an online report.
- Theft of Service. If an unknown person requests and obtains a service from you valued at $500 or less and then refuses to pay, you can report it online.
- Threats. If another person threatened you, and you are not in immediate danger, you can file a police report online.
- Burglary of a Vehicle. If an unknown person breaks into your vehicle and steals your possessions, unless the property was a firearm, this crime may be reported online. If a firearm was stolen, call the SAPD's nonemergency phone number.
- Credit/Debit Card Abuse and/or Identity Theft. If another person uses your credit card or debit card without your authorization, or if you discover your identity has been stolen, you can file an initial police report online. Once you receive a case number, you will then be required to provide further documentation to the SAPD Forgery Unit before an investigation can begin.
How to File Police Reports Online
To file a police report online for one of the eligible crimes, you can do so on the San Antonio Police Department's website at www.sanantonio.gov/SAPD/File-Electronic-Report where you will find one basic form for all online reports. Provide all information you have about the victim of the crime, including name, address, birthdate, sex, race, phone and email address, along with the location, date and time of the incident and any information about lost or stolen property. There is also a section to provide additional information about the incident.
An officer will not be sent to the scene or to your home after you file your report online. Online reports are used to collect basic information and create a San Antonio incident report to issue a case number, but for investigators to pursue your case, you will most likely be required to provide additional documentation. For example, victims of certain property crimes, including burglary of a vehicle, burglary of a coin-operated machine and theft of service, are required to complete a Property Crime Complaint Packet before they contact the SAPD property crime unit. These forms can be downloaded from the SAPD website at www.sanantonio.gov/SAPD/Downloadable-Forms.
Read More: How to File a Police Report
How to File a Police Report by Phone
To file a police report with the San Antonio Police Department by phone, either call 911 or the SAPD's nonemergency number, 210-207-7273. In addition to fires and life-threatening medical emergencies, the San Antonio Police Department's 911 emergency number should only be used to report crimes in progress and car accidents that require an officer at the scene. When you call 911, the SAPD will ask if you know your location; answer the dispatcher’s questions to the best of your ability and then follow the dispatcher’s instructions.
For all other incidents, call the SAPD's nonemergency number at 210-207-7273. For example, if you return home to find your house being burgled, call 911, but if you come home to find that your house has been broken into and the criminals are already gone, call the SAPD's nonemergency number. In both instances, officers will be dispatched to the scene, but 911 is strictly for emergency situations.
If, after filing an initial police report, you have further information to provide, have questions or want to talk to a detective about filing criminal charges, call the assigned unit directly. For property crimes, contact the property crime unit in your district:
- Central: 210-207-7990
- West: 210-207-8299
- South: 210-207-7184
- East: 210-207-8854
- North: 210-207-7601
- Prue: 210-207-8326
For major crimes, use these phone numbers:
- Forgery: 210-207-7451
- White collar crimes: 210-207-4481
- Auto theft: 210-207-7345
- Homicide: 210-207-7635
- Robbery: 210-207-0300
- Special victims: 210-207-2313
- Traffic investigations: 210-207-7385
- Youth services/missing persons: 210-207-7660
How to File a Police Report in Person
To file a police report in person, visit your local substation: Central, West, South, East, North or Prue. You can find a map outlining the area that each substation serves, as well as the substation addresses and phone numbers, online at www.sanantonio.gov/SAPD/Substations-Map.
Texas Rules Regarding Release of Police Reports
The Texas Public Information Act allows the public to access public records, including police reports and reports where police action was requested or taken, and incident reports or reports of activity, such as a traffic accident or missing person where no crime occurred. To obtain a San Antonio incident report or a police report, request a copy of the San Antonio Police Department records online, in person or through the mail. Records requests are not required to be processed in a set number of days, but the law states that the City of San Antonio must either provide the information or inform you of when the information will be available within 10 business days of receiving your request.
To comply with privacy laws, the City of San Antonio may object to releasing certain data to the public, including:
- Sexually oriented reports.
- Reports involving children.
- Reports with information about people not arrested, like suspects or witnesses.
- Attempted suicide reports.
- Reports of an emergency detention where a person is taken into custody without a warrant because an officer believes she is mentally ill and poses a substantial risk of harm to herself or others.
- Information regarding active criminal investigations.
Although the police might legally object to the release of reports related to a pending criminal prosecution, unless the incident involves a minor, they can only withhold certain sensitive information. Some public information regarding pending prosecutions may be released, including basic information such as the name, age and description of those arrested; the name, age and description of the victim; and an outline of the incident. However, public information does not include additional personal information about anyone arrested; details of suspects who were not arrested; personal details about the victim; and any identifying information about witnesses.
How to Request Police Reports Online
Request police reports online through the City of San Antonio’s Open Records Request online portal at www.sanantonio.gov/opengovernment. The online form to submit a police records request asks for information such as whether you are requesting a traffic accident report, and if so, your relationship to the accident; a description of the documents you are requesting; the preferred method to receive documents; the number used to dial 911; the date, time and location of the incident; and the incident case number.
How to Request a Police Report in Person or Through the Mail
To request a police report by mail, download either a Police Crash Report or a Police Records Request – All Other Records form from the SAPD website. For a crash report request, provide the date, time and location of the accident and the incident case number. Under the Texas Transportation Code, the SAPD is obligated to provide a full crash report only to people who have some relationship to the crash, such as a driver, an employer or an owner of a vehicle involved in the crash, so you will also need to indicate your interest in the crash report. For all other records, you will be asked to provide your contact information; the SAPD case number; date, time and location of the incident; information about the complainant or victim; and the number used to dial 911.
Send the completed form with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to:
San Antonio Police Department Records Office
315 S. Santa Rosa
San Antonio, TX 78207
To request a police report in person, go to the records office at the above address between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. You cannot order a report by phone.
Fees for Police Reports in San Antonio
For accident reports, the fee is $6.00, and for incident and offense reports the fee is .10 cents per page for the first 50 pages, if the report is stored on site. Reports that are more than two years old are stored off-site and require an extra fee.
In addition to the basic fee, if more than 50 pages are requested or the records are provided electronically, there may be a $15 per hour fee for general labor, which covers the time to locate, compile and reproduce the requested report. You may also be charged an overhead fee of 20 percent of the general labor cost. If the total cost of your record request is expected to exceed $40, the SAPD first will provide you with an estimate for your approval.
- City of San Antonio: SAPD Forgery Unit
- City of San Antonio: San Antonio Police Department Guidelines for Self-Reporting Police Reports
- City of San Antonio: SAPD File Electronic Report
- City of San Antonio: SAPD Downloadable Forms
- City of San Antonio: SAPD San Antonio Police Department Substation and District Maps
- City of San Antonio: SAPD Police Reports/Open Records
- City of San Antonio Open Government: Open Records Portal
- City of San Antonio: San Antonio Police Department Crash Report Request
- Houston Police Department : Responding to the Mentally Ill
- City of San Antonio: Police Records Request
- Call 311 to request City Services if you need to report violations of trash, animals or signs.
Sally Brooks is a writer living in New York City with her chunky toddler and patient husband. She graduated magna cum laude from the University Cincinnati College of Law and her work has been featured in Jurist and the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.