RENO, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com)-- Law enforcement says witness testimony and evidence is crucial when it comes time
to convict criminals. Technology has changed the way witnesses can explain to law enforcement what they saw.
"It's imperative that law enforcement is provided the opportunity to view an eyewitness recording or still shot to better hold these people who commit crimes accountable," says Deputy Armando Avina with the Washoe County Sheriff's Office.
Deputy Avina says law enforcement agencies rely on witness accounts and statements during investigations.
"Be brave and understand that there is a process through the courts and if it does go to a trial or court case, be confident and allow that process to take place," says Deputy Avina.
Deputy Avina says your own personal safety if the most important when witnessing a crime. Before you take that picture or video on your smartphone, make sure you're in a safe area. If you're scared of retaliation because of what you may have seen or recorded, there are some options out there to protect you.
"We do provide some safe guard to those people may feel like they're going to be retaliated against, also locally they can provide that information to Secret Witness at 322-4900.
If you do witness a crime, Deputy Avina says "Have your eyes open and observe, check your surroundings and understand that law enforcement is going to need you to describe the person, describe the act, were you a victim yourself. If you were, do you need medical assistance?'
Deputy Avina says it's crucial to call 911 if you know someone is hurt.
"Don't hesitate and allow the resources to come investigate," says Avina.