Saint John police roll out online reporting option
Saint John police are adding an online reporting tool for property crimes, such as theft under $5,000, damage to property, lost or missing items, as well as driving or traffic complaints and tips to the police.
Police spokesperson Sgt. Sean Rocca said photos can be uploaded and a report submitted in as little as 15 minutes. An immediate confirmation email will be issued with a reference number for insurance purposes, he said.
An officer will review the report and call the person who made the report, if needed. "There's no need to visit, call or wait for the police," he said.
Rocca said people are still able to call the non-emergency line and ask for an officer to come to the scene in person. This new option is for those who prefer to report online, without needing to wait for an officer to respond and take their statement.
Fredericton police already have such a system, as well as many other police services across the country. Rocca said the software Saint John is using is called Coplogic, and it's passed a security inspection. Most major police services in Ontario use the same service.
"[It] underwent a security review in order for us to use that software and ensure that it's safe for the citizens to use and that that their data is protected," he said.
According to a report presented to the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners in January, Saint John police recorded 2,292 property crimes in 2021, compared to 2,048 the previous year. Those crimes involved theft, possession of stolen property, break and enter and mischief.
Rocca said the goal is to have fewer officers tied up with such reports. An alternative response unit was also created in 2021, where an officer is assigned to take reports by phone or from walk-ins about non-emergency crimes.
Saint John police handled 52,500 calls in 2022, in total, according to a report. The traffic unit handled about 8,000 of those and the new alternative unit handled about 4,800.
Rocca said once this tool has been up and running for some time, it will expand to include reporting on car accidents.