How to Write an Eyewitness Report
An eyewitness report is a first-person account of an event you personally witnessed. The goal is to provide details about the event in a clear, concise manner, giving as many details as you recall as accurately as possible.
Eyewitness reports are often crucial to solving crimes or providing background on newsworthy stories. Eyewitness reports are also used as part of incident reports at workplaces such as schools, nursing homes, jails and other facilities requiring employees to monitor sensitive situations.
Think about the incident you witnessed . Ask yourself exactly what you saw and the order of the events. Consider all parties involved in the incident and whether or not you've seen any of them before. Reconstruct the events and the order in which they occurred as clearly as you can before you write anything down.
Write your eyewitness report in the first person. Describe only what you actually witnessed. There is no room in an eyewitness report for personal opinion or dramatic effect. If you want to add something that you didn't actually see, use a phrase like "He appeared to have a gun." Using the word "appear" lets anyone reading the report know that although you didn't actually see the gun, it looked as if there may have been one.
Use language as precisely as you can. If you're describing clothes, don't just say someone was wearing an orange jacket. If you know a more specific word, use it. Try to remember any identifying marks, odd behaviors or out-of-place events surrounding the situation you're reporting on.
Include specific time and date information when writing about the incident, your full name and contact information, and the names of anyone who might have been present who can back up your account. If you have access to information from someone who is unavailable to write a report, include the information but indicate that the information was obtained from someone else.
Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.