Thanks to advanced technology, many of the things that previously required in-person attention can now be done virtually.
We have seen a major shift in online services made readily available during the course of the pandemic so far, with people working from home, attending virtual appointments and meetings and even renewing or registering for services online.
Now, reporting select crimes across the province has also gotten easier, and can be done by the click of a mouse.
Yesterday, Alberta RCMP launched a provincewide online reporting initiative.
The online crime reporting tool allows Albertans to report property crimes online. Corporal Troy Savinkoff with the Cochrane RCMP says that that the aim of this initiative is to ensure the public is able to report select crimes in the most convenient and accessible way.
He says "The one thing that COVID-19 has taught us is to really head some of these initiatives. To do some things virtually that really don't need to be done in person by humans, it's a step in that direction. This allows us to take those files that don't necessarily need police attendance- maybe its something that happened in the past but it is still something that we want to report because obviously we need to have a clear understanding of the types of offences that occur in our area."
Savinkoff says that the goal for the Alberta RCMP is to make sure all crime is reported, no matter the size of the crime. He believes that by offering an online tool, some people will be more inclined to follow through with a report.
He says "Crime everywhere as a whole is under reported. People might understand that well, the crime already happened and are maybe under the opinion that there is very little that police can do. So to make it easier on people to report those crimes, I think it's going to encourage the calls that we receive."
Effective immediately, Albertans can now report the following crimes online:
- Damage/mischief to property under $5,000
- Theft of a bicycle under $5,000
- Theft under $5,000
- Theft from a vehicle under $5,000
- Lost property
RCMP say that the incidents must also satisfy the following conditions in order to be reported online:
- No witnesses or suspects
- Item(s) lost or stolen must cost less than $5,000
- The vandalized property will cost less than $5,000 to repair
- There are no items involving personal identity, firearms, licence plates or decals
All crimes reported online will be followed up with a phone call from a police officer in "K" Division’s Call Back Unit within five business days.
Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki, Commanding Officer of Alberta RCMP says that the online tool will allow the RCMP to cover more ground in communities across the province, while also offering a contactless service during the pandemic.
He says "The Alberta RCMP is always looking for new opportunities to modernize and streamline our services for all Albertans – no matter where they live in the province. Online crime reporting is accessible and convenient and will help us capture more intelligence when it comes to property crime occurring in all of the communities we serve. Offering a contactless service is also vital in these times when physical distancing is so important."
The online crime reporting initiative has already been piloted in Airdrie, Banff, Cold Lake, Grande Prairie, Red Deer and Strathcona County, and has been running since June 1, 2020. The link to report a crime online can be found here: here.