February 17, 2020 12:23
The Portland Police Bureau is expanding the online reporting system to allow members of the community a more convenient way to report crimes and free up officers to respond to emergency calls.
Previously, community members could report only a select number of crimes online, including thefts, hit and runs, and vandalism, where there was no suspect information. Now we are expanding that to additional call types:
Fraud/Identity Theft (where there is no suspect):
-Identity Theft -- under $5,000
-Fraudulent Use of a Credit Card
-Forgery, including forged checks
-Shoplifts where no suspect is in custody
-Mail Theft (unless a government partner or business is the complainant)
-Theft of Bicycle (under $10,000 value)
-Non-felony level thefts where there is no suspect info (except for theft of drug calls such as prescription medication)
-Burglary to unoccupied detached garages, sheds, storage units
The ability to report more crimes online has numerous benefits to the community:
-Victims can choose a convenient time for them to report the crime, rather than wait for an officer to respond.
-Victims can get a copy of their police report directly to their e-mail much quicker, usually within 2 business days.
-This will allow officers to focus on higher priority calls and community policing by reducing the time spent taking theft calls.
-It uses technology to help PPB work more efficiently in the midst of a staffing challenge.
-The increased convenience is expected to result in more low-level crimes being reported, which will help investigators connect more criminal cases, and keep more accurate crime statistics.
"The Police Bureau is proactively considering several approaches to increase efficiencies and improve customer service," said Portland Police Chief Jami Resch. "Empowering community members to submit an online report will save the victims significant time. It will save officers' time too, which allows us to redirect resources to focus on other priority areas, and displays the Police Bureau's stewardship of public dollars."
Chief Resch added, "It is important for victims to know these crime reports are important to us, whether they are made in person or online. Every online report will be reviewed by a sworn officer. At times, officers and detectives discover crime trends while reviewing reports and can connect cases together that can lead to arrests, convictions, and the return of stolen property to victims. But they can only do that if victims take the time to report."
Additionally, PPB uses crime data from these reports to direct resources and improve crime reduction strategies.
Online reporting is an additional service to the public and is not mandatory. We recognize that not everyone has access to a computer, smartphone, or Internet-connected device, and online reporting is not available in all languages. Victims can still call the police non-emergency line, 503-823-3333, and an officer will respond in person when available.
To initiate an online report, or see if a situation meets the criteria for online reporting, visit www.portlandpolice.com and select "Police Report: Submit Online." In some cases, though some crimes may be included in the online reporting, there are incidents that may have factors that require the victim to talk to a police officer either in person or on the phone.
Additionally, community members can call 1-800-827-5058 to have a text message sent to a cell phone with a link to make the report from a smart phone.
If it is an emergency, community members should call 9-1-1. The non-emergency line is (503) 823-3333.
When priority call load is heavy, non-emergency call response times can be up to a few hours. By expanding the PPB's online reporting guidelines, victims do not have to wait for an officer to respond. Victims can choose when they want to report the crime.
To obtain a copy of the official police report where an officer has responded in person, it can take up to 20 business days. With online reporting, an official police report is sent to the victim's e-mail within about two business days. Once they have this e-mail, the victim can print off the report as often as they need and they can electronically send it to anyone who might need it, such as an insurance company.
In 2019, officers responded to more than 8,000 calls regarding thefts. Responding to these calls amounted to about 6,000 hours of officer time. Therefore, the Bureau looked to online reporting as an alternative and something that would be more effective for both community members and officers.
The Police Bureau continues to review technology and innovative ideas while it addresses its staffing challenges. The Bureau has over 100 officer vacancies now, with more than 130 sworn personnel eligible to retire by January 2021. While the Portland Police Bureau wants to respond to as many calls for service as possible, current staffing levels drive the need to find ways to more efficiently serve the public.
The Portland Police Bureau is hiring. To learn more or apply, go to https://www.joinportlandpolice.com.
### PPB ###
1111 SW 2nd Ave
Portland, OR 97204