Victims of property damage and petty thefts can now report their troubles online to the Ontario Provincial Police through its new "Citizen Self-Reporting Portal."
The online tool is meant to make reporting certain crimes more convenient, acting OPP Sgt. Chrystal Jones said Tuesday. She noted many petty crimes don't get reported to the OPP because the victims don't think they are worthy of police attention.
Jones said people often won't inform police when a car or home has been broken into and nothing has been taken, or in cases where there is no evidence or a suspect.
"People see that as a bit of a nuisance and often don't report them," Jones said. "We hope it will give us a more accurate idea of what's going on the community."
Online reporting will free up police
In order to file an online report, the user must have a valid email address. The information will then be sent to a database where an officer can review it and follow up if necessary either by phone or email.
It means an officer won't immediately be dispatched, freeing up police to focus on other crime prevention strategies, according to Jones.
"It's not replacing anything," she said. "This is just another tool we've added for people to connect. If a person wants to speak to a police officer in person, they can call the toll-free number."
Jones notes that victims of crime involving theft over $5,000, traffic collisions, injuries, weapons or emergency situations must still be reported to police the old fashioned way: by telephone.
Police are hoping the system will make reporting crime easier and more crimes will be reported as a result.
"We are hoping people will catch onto it and use it," Jones said. "We will be monitoring community response."