It’s now easier for the public in Victoria and Esquimalt to report minor crimes.
The police department recently upgraded its online reporting system, called CopLogic, and increased the type of cases that can be posted electronically.
“This is an application that we thought would be more beneficial for all,” said Darlene Perry, VicPD’s director of information management. “We are in a position to host it for the entire Capital Regional District, (but) right now it will be running for Victoria and Esquimalt citizens. But we do have the ability to expand on that.”
The public has been able to report crimes online since 2008 and the number of cases reported has steadily increased, she said.
“By increasing the number of call types, we hope to continue to get more and more information.”
Driving complaints and graffiti have been added to the list of calls that can be reported online. The system includes an option for attaching photos of crimes such as graffiti.
The public can also report thefts under $5,000, fraud related to cheques, credit and debit cards, as well as lost property and mischief under $5,000.
There were 225 online reports to police in 2010 and 247 in 2011.
Crimes reported online at vicpd.ca are treated similarly to those phoned in to the department, said Mike Tucker, VicPD communications co-ordinator.
Staff process the reports and reply to online complaints within three days, he said, but the nature of the crime determines the length of response time.
The crimes reported online are most commonly reported for insurance purposes, Tucker said.
“But depending on what is reported, it could be necessitated that an officer would be dispatched.”
After filing a report, the citizen is given a tracking number for the case. A full police report is emailed to the person once the crime is resolved, he said.
“The idea of online reporting is not to report the major offences, but to provide a convenient and accessible means to people who can report offences they maybe otherwise would’ve ignored or not (phoned in),” Tucker said.
The implementation of CopLogic is “another step in the right direction” that acknowledges people’s changing online behaviours, he added.
“They expect to be able to do more online. This is a new tool available to the public in providing public safety and in keeping their neighbourhoods safe.”
It was unknown how much the new system will cost taxpayers. It’s too soon to gauge user feedback, but Tucker said people had been asking for such a service.
For people wanting to report a crime online, go to vicpd.ca and search for “report a crime online” under the tab “How Do I?”