Non-violent crime victims can now make their own police reports online

Non-violent crime victims make their own police report on-line

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "There are a number of crimes that we have identified that we believe do not require a police response," says NOPD Chief Michael Harrison.

Property damage, lost property, theft and auto theft are just a few crimes that police want you to now report online.

When it comes to burglaries, Harrison says his officers will still respond to home and business burglary calls, because often times, evidence is left behind.

Still, Harrison wants citizens to use the website to report auto burglaries.

"Burglary of a vehicle on the other hand, most times the items taken that the citizens or visitor wants to report is for an insurance lost. They need to get a report and an item number to make a claim," says Harrison.

The reports are sent to the alternative police response unit where officers will follow-up with the victim if more information is needed.

"So now the concern of response time is diminished. We can focus more now on violent crime, reducing response time and community policing," says Harrison.

"I think it's a really good idea, but there's some drawbacks," says Anthony Radosti.

Radosti, with the Metropolitan Crime Commission, worries the online reports will be too overwhelming for the victim.

"He could be confused. He may not be well educated. He may not be able to type. Then you go to report a stolen car and there's an affidavit to fill out. The average person is just going to shake his head and says there's a problem here," says Radosti.

Harrison says victims can still call the non-emergency number to get a police report by phone if they need to.

Radosti, though, also worries about how the crimes will be investigated.

"If you have a police officer there, he's going to go next door and ask, 'Did you see anything?' And then, if he has the time, he'll go case the neighborhood," says Radosti.

Harrison says if there is evidence on the scene of a crime, his officers will go out and collect it.

"We're putting more of the burden on the victim to come forward and basically do their own investigation. This will be given to someone to review. If there is little to no information on the crime, there will be little to no follow-up," says Radosti.

"But, let's be real. On most of these thefts, thefts of a phone, theft of an item outside a home or business, the solve rate on those are very very low," says Harrison.

Harrison calls the new online reporting system the future of the NOPD.

"It is a best practice and it is something that our citizens will have to get used to because we're a 21st century police department, and we're doing thing the way we should have always been doing," says Harrison.

Chief Harrison expects more people will report crimes through the online reporting process. Once a report is filled out, you'll receive a case number and be able to get a copy.

You'll find the online crime reporting form here.

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