Reporting crime online has been slow to catch on in Red Deer.
Red Deer RCMP Cpl. Michael Evans, in charge of community policing, said since the Alberta RCMP’s online crime reporting option became available last May, only 942 reports were made online across Alberta, including 94 Red Deer reports.
“They are using it. It’s not to the extent that we were hoping. We want to try and increase those numbers,” Evans said.
Online reporting helps divert non-urgent calls from police dispatch, and makes it easier for people to report crime, he said.
“You don’t have to wait on the phone to speak to somebody, or wait for an officer to show up. They can make that report at their leisure.”
Citizens can go online to ocre-sielc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/alberta to report damage to property under $5,000, theft under $5,000 and lost property. Once a crime is reported online, the complaint will be followed up by police.
No crimes involving personal identity, firearms, licence plates or decals can be reported online.
If a crime falls outside these conditions, the public is asked to call the Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575.
For crimes in progress, or situations where immediate police presence is required, call 9-1-1.
Evans said by reporting crime, police can adjust patrols to areas of high crime.
“We can only respond to what we know about,” the corporal said.
TerryLee Ropchan, executive director of Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre, also encouraged people to utilize online reporting.
“The more information police have to do their jobs the better. I think it’s a really good tool to have and we definitely promote it,” Ropchan said.
She said Red Deer’s online crime map, found at reddeer.ca/city-services/police-rcmp/crime-map, is another useful tool to remind residents to report crime in their neighbourhood.
“If you can see there’s an increase in activity (reported on the crime map), you’re naturally going to pay more attention, and when you see something, you would want to report that as well.”