Crime prevention for obscene or harassing phone calls

A telephone call is considered obscene or harassing if it is received at a location where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy and the caller makes repeated calls or makes any comment, request, suggestion, or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, vulgar, or indecent. Such a call or language intends to abuse, threaten, or harass any person who answers the telephone. Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls can be a problem. The University of Florida Police Department can help.

Florida State Statute 365.16 describes obscene or harassing telephone calls as:

Making a call without conversation or disclosure of identity and with the intent to harass, annoy, abuse or threaten. Making a call with conversation and with the intent solely to harass or threaten. Making a call during which any obscene conversation or suggestions are made with the intention of offending, harassing, threatening or abusing the person called. Making continued calls or continually ringing the telephone with the intent to harass.

MAKING OBSCENE OR HARASSING PHONE CALLS IS A SECOND DEGREE MISDEMEANOR PUNISHABLE BY A MAXIMUM FINE OF $500 AND/OR 60 DAYS IN JAIL.

If you receive harrassing or obscene phone calls:

1. Report obscene or harassing phone calls to the University Police Department 392-1111. Call the University Police Department and request an officer to respond to your location.

2. Pay attention to any background noises, the caller’s sex, accent, speech pattern, or anything else to aid in identification.

3. Keep a log of calls received, include, date, time and details of the call.

4. If calls are received on an answering machine, save the tape.

5. Use the *69 service. By pressing *69 the telephone number of the last caller is identified. This service is available, on all Division of Housing telephones. For telephones off-campus there is a charge of $1.00 per use. When you receive an unwanted telephone call, use this service, record the number and report the number to the police.

Remember, making Obscene or Harassing Telephone Calls is a crime. There is something you can do. For additional information call the University Police Department’s Community Services Division at 392- 1409.

For further information on this or others safety topics please contact the University of Florida Police Department’s Community Services Division at 392-1409.