What Is 187 in Police Code

What Is 187 in Police Code?

In the world of law enforcement, police officers use a variety of codes to communicate quickly and efficiently with their colleagues. These codes are often referred to as police scanner codes or police radio codes. One such code that has gained a significant amount of attention and recognition is “187.” But what does it actually mean?

The code 187 is used by police officers to signify a homicide or murder. Originating in the state of California, 187 has become synonymous with taking someone’s life unlawfully. The term gained mainstream popularity through numerous movies, television shows, and songs, further embedding it into popular culture.

The use of police codes allows officers to communicate sensitive and crucial information without revealing too much to the public or potential criminals. By using a number or a specific phrase, police officers can quickly relay important information to their colleagues without sparking unnecessary panic or compromising the investigation.


Q: Why is the code 187 specifically used for homicides?
A: The code 187 is derived from the California Penal Code, which defines murder as the unlawful killing of another person. Therefore, officers started using this code to represent murder or homicide.

Q: Is the code 187 used universally?
A: While the code 187 is widely recognized in the United States, it may not be used in the same way or with the same meaning in other countries or jurisdictions. Police codes can vary from region to region, so it’s essential to be aware of the specific codes used in your area.

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Q: Are police codes secret?
A: Police codes are not meant to be secret; however, they are primarily used for efficient communication among law enforcement personnel. These codes are often taught during police academy training and can be found in publicly available resources.

Q: Can civilians use police codes?
A: Civilians can learn and use police codes, especially if they are interested in understanding law enforcement communication or have a legitimate need to communicate with police officers. However, it is important to use these codes responsibly and with respect for the privacy and security concerns of law enforcement agencies.

Q: Are there other codes related to crimes?
A: Yes, there are numerous codes related to different types of crimes. For instance, code 211 is used for robbery, code 314 for indecent exposure, and code 459 for burglary. These codes vary across jurisdictions, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific codes used in your area.

Q: Can I listen to police scanner codes?
A: In some areas, it is legal for civilians to listen to police scanner codes. However, in certain jurisdictions, it may be illegal or restricted. It is always best to research and understand the laws in your specific location before attempting to listen to police scanner codes.

Q: Do police officers still use codes in the age of technology?
A: While technology has revolutionized communication, police officers continue to use codes for various reasons, including privacy and efficiency. However, with the advancement of secure digital communication systems, some police departments have transitioned to encrypted channels to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive information.

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In conclusion, the code 187 in police jargon refers to a homicide or murder. It is a widely recognized code, especially in the United States, originating from the California Penal Code. Police codes play a vital role in efficient communication among law enforcement personnel, allowing them to relay crucial information quickly and discreetly. While codes can be understood and used by civilians, it is important to respect the privacy and security considerations of law enforcement agencies.