Victoria police are happy with the number of users logging in to their Crime Reports site, despite a low number of tips.
More than 14,000 visits have been recorded on the crime page since April 2. The site was launched on March 31. In addition, 1,634 people have signed up for automatic email alerts about crimes in their neighbourhoods, and nearly 70 of those have multiple alerts coming to their inboxes.
“If we had two people using it, I’d be happy, but we had a lot signed up and the more people look at it, the better it is,” said VicPD spokesman Const. Mike Russell.
Yet one feature of the Crime Reports service might not be having the positive results police expected.
The page has a direct link for people to send anonymous tips directly to Crime Stoppers, but officers involved with the agency haven’t noticed a marked increase in tips since the site’s launch.
“At this point, we don’t think there’s been any change,” said Const. Ann Zimmerman, police co-ordinator for Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers.
Zimmerman said tips to Crime Stoppers fluctuate greatly month-to-month, with a lowball figure of 30 tips, all the way up to 70 coming in in any 30-day period.
“For tips, for us, sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason,” she said. “In the month of a homicide, it goes crazy, or the anniversary of the (Michael) Dunahee disappearance. It just corresponds with what’s going on crime-wise.”
Zimmerman said half the tips received by Crime Stoppers are web tips and half are phone tips, but the proportion of online tips is increasing.
The Crime Reports map is provided by a U.S. company and shows what types of crimes happened in the city and when, using colour-coded labels. The service costs VicPD $1,778 per year.
A link to the crime maps is at www.vicpd.ca.