Fewer than 175 people have used a Lincoln, Neb., police website to report crimes since the service was unveiled eight months ago.
Police have received 171 victim reports through the website, which accepts reports for thefts, losses and damage totaling less than $500. Reportable incidents could include vandalism, a stolen bicycle or a theft from a car.
By comparison, 3,418 people called police or flagged down an officer for the same type of crimes, according to the Lincoln Journal Star.
Roughly 100 more used the online service to notify police about crimes such as burglaries, fraud and auto theft. But those notifications required a Lincoln Police Department employee to follow up with phone calls or face-to-face meetings.
Chief Jim Peschong said he’s not sure whether police are receiving more reports of these crimes thanks to the new service or whether the people who filed online reports might have called in their reports anyway.
“We created this to wind up having another option for people to report these to police,” said Police Chief Jim Peschong. “They can sit in their living room with their feet on the ottoman and punch in that information as opposed to talking to anyone.”
A lot of police departments across the country are using online crime reporting to alleviate the burden of sending officers and burning gas to respond to calls about graffiti or a bicycle that was taken outside the downtown bars, Peschong said.
Peschong said police will continue monitoring how many victims use the online form, and will look for changes that could make it easier to use.
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