When to Call 9-1-1

When there is an emergency and there is an immediate threat to person or property or there is a crime in progress and immediate action is required, call 9-1-1. 9-1-1 is to be used only for emergencies where an immediate response is required from Police, Fire or Emergency Health Services. Do NOT text 9-1-1. The RCMP does not accept reports of crime via email.

Examples of calls to 9-1-1 for police:

  • An event that involves an immediate threat to person or property – when a person’s life is in danger or there is an immediate threat (screams or shots fired)
  • A crime in progress or about to occur (break and enter, assault or impaired driving)
  • A suspicious circumstance that may indicate a pending criminal act, or when there is a good chance of arresting a suspect or preventing the development of a serious crime (prowler, door-to-door salesperson who doesn’t have proper identification, vehicle ‘casing’ the neighbourhood)
  • A serious crime that has just occurred and the suspect may not be far from the scene or may return (sexual assault or robbery)

If you are unsure how serious an incident is, call 9-1-1 and they will advise whether or not to call the non-emergency number.

In non-emergency situations, where an immediate response or dispatch of the police is not required, call 250-492-4300. If some time has elapsed since the incident occurred, the suspect of the crime is no longer at the scene, or the call is to report a nuisance issue, the non-emergency number should be used.

Examples of non-emergency calls for police:

  • A crime has already been committed and no suspects are present (theft of a license plate)
  • A non-emergency crime with a suspect, but the suspect is not on the scene (fraud)
  • A crime with a suspect, but with a lengthy delay (assault that occurred the previous night at a bar)
  • Ongoing crime issues, not in-progress (nuisance behaviour, graffiti problems, or ongoing drug dealing with the suspect not on the scene)
  • A suspicious circumstance that may indicate an on-going criminal activity (grow operation, drug production site)
  • When following up on a report that has been previously made (have the police file number available)

When calling 9-1-1:

When faced with an emergency situation and calling 9-1-1, try to remember the following:

  • Remain calm and remain on the phone until you are told to hang up
  • Briefly state the reason for the fall (for example, “I want to report a driver that appears to be under the influence”)
  • Let the operator control the conversation – all questions asked provide important information to assist the officers who are attending.
  • Be prepared to answer the following:
    • The location of the emergency, including street name, building number, direction of travel. If the emergency is occurring in a restricted access complex, remember to provide an intercom code
    • Personal information, including name, address and phone number, and date of birth if requested. In providing a date of birth, the caller is helping to differentiate between people with the same name and assists in reducing instances of identity theft.

When calling for police assistance, record and provide as much detail as possible – consider the following checklist of possibilities:

  • Date:
  • Time:
  • Location:
  • Suspect Description:
    • Sex:
    • Age:
    • Height:
    • Body build:
    • Ethnicity:
    • Complexion:
    • Eye colour:
    • Eye shape:
    • Hair colour:
    • Length
    • Hair style:
    • Facial hair:
    • Tattoos or Scars:
    • Jewelry or Body piercings:
    • Glasses:
    • Accent:
    • Suspect Clothing:
      • Hat:
      • Shoes:
      • Jacket:
      • Shirt:
      • Pants or shorts:
      • Style, colours or emblems and logos:
  • Type of Weapon:
  • Suspect Vehicle:
    • License plate number:
    • Vehicle brand:
    • Vehicle model:
    • Colour:
    • Direction of travel:

Other Reports:


The City of Penticton Bylaws assist in maintaining community standards pertaining to:

  • Noise (including construction and animal)
  • Unsightly Property
  • Traffic
  • Snow & Ice Removal
  • Nuisance Properties & “Grow-Ops”
  • Pawnbrokers and Second Hand Dealers

If you have a concern involving any of the above issues, Bylaw Services can be contacted at 250-490-2440, or Dog Control at 250-492-3801. After hours, call the RCMP non-emergency line at 250-492-4300 for pressing issues. Concerns about graffiti can be reported to Bylaw Services.

Make an Anonymous Tip:

If you have information about a crime or suspicious person or activity and you would prefer to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, send a text message to 274637 with the message SOSTIPS, or visit Crime Stoppers.

Reporting Fraud:

If you have been a victim of a scan or your personal information has been compromised, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 to file a report and the Canadian Credit Bureaus for Assistance. If your personal information has been compromised, contact both Equifax by calling 1-800-465-7166 and TransUnion Canada by calling 1-877-525-3823. For further information, visit the national RCMP website on Reporting Scams and Frauds.

Internet Safety:

For information on internet safety or to report the online sexual exploitation of children, call the RCMP Integrated Child Exploitation Team (ICE) at 604-598-4569 or visit Cybertip.ca. For other information regarding threatening, criminal or an emergency situation observed through a social media website, visit the nation RCMP website on Social Media Initiatives.