Why would the police call me and not leave a message? [13 obvious, and not so obvious, reasons]

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Sometimes you check your phone and see a missed call. After checking the number, you see that you have a missed call from the police department!

And no message has been left…

People often get very worried when this happens, asking themselves, “why would the police call me? And why didn’t they leave a message??”

I have called many people during my career as a police officer. While working as a detective, 911 operator, or on patrol, I have been required to call numerous people for a variety of different reasons.

13 Reasons why the police might call you: 

1. The police are investigating you for committing a crime

This is the obvious one. You have done something wrong and now the police want to talk to you about it.

2. They might have found something you lost

You have no idea how often a lost and found item ends up at a police station. If you’re lucky, a police officer might find out you’re the owner and give you a call. Examples of lost items include bicycles, iPads, wallets, credit cards, and keys, to name a few…

That being said, the police don’t handle lost and found property in every state. However, lost property often ends up with the police somewhere in the process between being lost and given back to its rightful owner. 

3. The police need to speak with you about something you might have witnessed

This is also obvious. Sometimes people see something that the police need to know about.  Examples of that could be a car accident, a robbery, or a fight. The police may have gotten your name through other witnesses’ statements that place you near or at the scene.

4. They might need your help with something

The list of things police need help with are endless. Quite often, the police need help from someone with a specific skill set. There are numerous people I’ve called to help me, such as: 

  • Locksmiths
  • Janitors in an apartment complex to open doors, etc.
  • Car manufacturers to ask about the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on a specific model.
  • Gas stations to ask what kind of fuel was bought at a certain time.
  • A beekeeper (It’s true!) to help handle angry hornets taking residence in a motorcycle we suspected was stolen.
  • To ask for surveillance images from a CCTV.
  • Experts in a specific field.
  • Landlords of rental property, storage facilities, etc. The police might be interested in the rental history of your tenants if they are under investigation.

As you can see, these people have almost nothing in common except that the police needed their help. And this list is NOT exhaustive. 

5. Something might have happened on or with your property

Many people own property. Something might have occured on your property that needs to be investigated, such as a criminal incident or an accident.

Or something might have happened to your property. Typically it’s damaged in some way.

6. The police have important information or a message for you

The police might have an important message for you
The police might call you because they have an important message for you

This could be anything. The worst example would be that someone you love or are related to is seriously injured or dead.

Another example is that your car was in an accident, but someone else was driving it…

The police are tasked with delivering a wide range of messages to people. But don’t worry, not all messages are negative. 

7. Someone has asked the police to do a welfare check on you

Someone hasn’t heard from you in a while. You do not answer your phone or respond to messages. And you haven’t been on social media for quite some time.

When you don’t answer your door and your mailbox is full, they may start to worry about your wellbeing.

So they ask the police for help and one of the things the police will do is try to call you. 

Learn more about what a welfare check is in this in-depth article.

8. The police have some documents they need to deliver to you

I have no idea how many times I’ve delivered documents to people. It can be anything from court orders to notifications from the power company, etc. In most cases, the sender hasn’t been able to reach you in other ways, so they ask the police for help.

9. You might have kids that have done something they shouldn’t have

I often call parents after I’ve caught their child doing something they shouldn’t. These cases can differ greatly in terms of severity. For example, the child may have been arrested for violence or stealing. Or, perhaps they were stopped for driving an unregistered vehicle or apprehended for dumpster diving. (I don’t know why dumpster diving is illegal).

As you can see, it might be serious or it might be a little less egregious…

10. It might be a fake police call

These days, it’s possible to make a phone call and have it look like someone else is calling. This is called “spoofing,” and it is very common for scammers to use phone numbers belonging to the police. 

There are several reasons for this. Just imagine what you could do if you convince someone that you are the police. Some people might give their credit card numbers or other personal information if they believe it’s the police asking for it.

11. They’ve called the wrong number

This happens from time to time. I’ve experienced angry people yelling at me because the police called them and it was the wrong number. 

“Hey, sometimes people make mistakes. Did someone die? No? Then get over it!.”  Of course I never actually said that but I must admit, there were times when it was very tempting. 

In any case, the misunderstanding will be resolved. 

12. Your car is parked somewhere it shouldn’t be

I’ve received many complaints about cars being parked where they shouldn’t be. The vehicle might be blocking an entrance, a road, a garage, a fire hydrant, or perhaps it’s been parked in the same spot for weeks.

In the end, people will call the police and ask them to check the car out and help them to remove it if needed. 

13. You may have pocket-dialed 911

Several times a day, the police are being pocket dialed. Sometimes people pocket dial again and again by accident. If it happens too often, the police might try to call you back and let you know about the pocket dialing.

People react in different ways when they are called back. Usually they are very embarrassed and sorry. But hey, these things happen and there’s no need to be ashamed!

Questions you might have when you’ve been called by a police department.

Why don’t the police leave a message?

The police will very often leave a message. But sometimes they don’t. One reason might be that they need to know that you are the one using the phone. Or it might be a message that’s not suitable for text messages.

What do I do when the police have called me?

Call them back, maybe? It might be critical.

If it’s very important, the police will call you back anyway. If they can’t reach you by phone, they mayl try to visit you at home, work or somewhere else you might be.

Read our article about “why would a detective come to my house?

Why would the police call me from a mobile phone?

There might be no particular reason for this. Many officers have their own “business phone” issued from their employer. So it is probably for the sake of convenience.

But it can also be because it’s easier for you to call them back and reach the right person. 

Another reason might be that the police officer calling doesn’t want you to recognize the phone number as a “police phone number”.

In my experience, it’s usually for the sake of convenience. 

On the other hand, I will often avoid using my cell phone because I don’t want everyone to have that number. Some folks believe they can call me directly if they need to contact the police. And that’s not how it works…

Why would a specific police officer call me?

If there is a specific police officer calling, it might be that you’ve spoken to each other before. Maybe the police officer wants to ask how you are doing after an earlier encounter. Or they might be worried about your situation. 

In conclusion

We need to wrap this article up… As you can see, there are several reasons why the police might call you. And it may not be anything serious at all. 

In my experience calling people, very often it’s for something minor. Most people I’ve called feel better when we’re done talking. The communication skills of the police officer is crucial to make a positive outcome of the call.

Please consider that if you have a missed call from the police department.