Incident books are documents used to record crime, injuries, or other circumstances that need to be preserved in writing. They are employed by businesses, housing complexes, and even within youth organizations to record injuries or occurrences that may lead to lawsuits. The events may or may not be reported to law enforcement, depending on the seriousness of the episode.
Businesses in some regions, for example, are encouraged to log any crime, suspicious behavior, or vandalism to improve response to criminal or unwanted behavior. The incident book can be used to record threats, physical or verbal abuse, or anti-social behavior in or near the establishment. Once the incident book is full, it is mailed to authorities.
The log book lists the time, date, and where the problem occurred. The business owners may jot down any damages or losses suffered from the incident. A section of the incident book asks if any video or still images were captured of the person causing the problem, and whether police were called. If a case number was issued, it can be listed on the document.
Incident books are confidential. Authorities typically ask permission before contacting the reporting person. The book also contains a space for the business owner to request a law enforcement visit to discuss security measures that might help.
Housing complexes use incident books to maintain a record of tenants who are causing a nuisance or behaving in a way that disturbs neighbors. These incident books detail the nature of the disturbance, how long it lasted, and how it affected the person reporting it. If threats were made, a section of the incident book is set aside to cite the exact words used. Generally, these logs are used to evict a tenant who exhibits a pattern of behavior that disturbs others.
Injury incident books are required in some regions where more than a certain number of employees work. These are also called accident report books. All injuries or deaths on the job are logged into the incident book, but personal information about the injured person is not attached. Those records are usually kept in a separate location to protect confidentiality.
Some youth organizations also keep an incident book to keep track of injuries or allegations of improper behavior by adult leaders. Even minor instances are often preserved in writing, with the circumstances spelled out and witness names noted. Some of these incident books provide space to name the person at fault, along with any threats of legal action by the person who was hurt.