Crime reporting goes high tech
New system allows victims to report minor incidents online
In an effort to maintain services amid widespread county cutbacks and as a means of keeping up with today's cyber lifestyle, the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office has instituted a new program that will allow residents to report crimes online.
The new system has just come online in the past week. Residents are urged to go to www.cocosheriff.com and click on "File online reports" in order to make a report.
Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said the program will provide residents of the unincorporated areas, as well as contract cities such as Danville, with another way of contacting the police in the event of a crime.
"It's really just another option for people who want to report crimes," explained Lee. "Generally, it's going to be crimes where a suspect can't be identified. You wake up in the morning and you go out to your car and somebody smashed your mailbox or cracked your windshield. Rather than wait for a deputy they can go online and fill out a report of the crime."
Lee said the online program is strictly for minor crimes and that if there is an emergency, or there is a suspect at the scene, residents should use 9-1-1.
Sheriff Warren Rupf said he supports the shift to a more technological means of reporting crime but expressed some concerns that it comes at the expense of personalized service.
"Our organizational culture demands timely and personal responses to calls from our citizens," said Rupf. "While the use of this new program reduces personal contact we must adjust to the debilitating loss of staff."
On the positive side, using the online service will reduce the amount of time deputies spend taking down reports and allow them to devote more time to proactive policing.
In addition to reporting crimes, the online site allows residents to request vacation checks, and to file illegal fireworks and barking dog complaints.