For the first time in three years, the number of murder cases in New York City increased. The New York Police Department (NYPD) recorded 318 cases in the city in 2019. This was up from the 289 cases recorded in 2018, and the 292 in 2017.
In September, a pedestrian found the body of a man rolled up in a red carpet and dumped outside a Starbucks store in Harlem. In October 2019, Verizon workers, in the midst of installing phone wires, discovered a dead body under a manhole.
Imagine yourself one morning, walking in the narrow alleys of the city. You smell something odd coming from a dumpster in the corner. You move closer and to your horror, you discover a dead body dumped inside. Panic will most likely take over because the pressure is now on you to report what you’ve seen to police.
But don’t be alarmed. Stay calm and composed and remember these three things you need to do when you encounter a dead body.
Do Not Touch Anything
By now, you are standing at a possible crime scene. For your safety, it’s best to keep your hands off anything (including the body) to avoid any tampering incident. Likewise, the body may already be decomposing, so any bodily fluids can contain potential blood borne pathogens that can infect you.
State law of New York classifies tampering with physical evidence as a class E felony. If you have accidentally touched anything, better to disclose it to the police. You may also want to engage the services of a reputable criminal defense lawyer should the authorities investigate this case further.
Stay a safe distance away and check if the body is still showing signs of life. The person may just be knocked out but is still alive. If you are certain the person is dead, it’s just better to keep your distance and proceed with the next step.
In the US and Canada, 9-1-1 is the emergency telephone hot line. A 9-1-1 operator will ask your location, instruct you what to do and ask you questions until authorities arrive. When on a call, you should remain composed and tell the operator everything you know about the body. Male or female? Height? Are there wounds or any signs of foul play?
These 9-1-1 calls are essential to police investigation. The faster you make the call, the quicker the response will be.
Cooperate With Authorities
Police will probably ask you to narrate the entire account of what you saw. Again, try to remember as much information as possible. If you cannot recall some parts vividly, it is better if honest with them.. As a witness, you’d want every information you’re giving to police to be accurate.
Police might keep in touch with you days after the incident. Just be cooperative in their investigation and you should be fine.
Careful action must be taken when confronted with things like finding a dead body. The NYPD urges citizens to report these cases immediately. Besides, swift reporting will prevent the loss of valuable evidence.