Vancouver police upgrade online crime-reporting system

Residents will be able to more easily detail low-level offenses

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

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Vancouver police launched an online crime reporting system Monday that should be a bit more user-friendly than one that was in place for the past several years.

The new system — available near the top right of the window at http://www.vanpolice.org — will allow citizens to report low-level crimes that occurred within the city limits.

“This one has a few more user-friendly features,” said Kim Kapp, department spokeswoman.

That includes the ability to add information to a report already submitted online or to an officer, an automatic confirmation e-mail and an auto reply with the permanent case number once one is assigned.

It won’t allow for any mistakes and will give people a clear indication that the report was received, Kapp said.

Reports submitted online will be entered into the same electronic system as reports by department staff. Sergeants will review the reports and approve them, Kapp said.

The new system will also walk citizens through the reporting process, and will only allow them to submit appropriate crimes.

People can report harassing phone calls, vehicle prowls, identity theft, fraud, malicious mischief, lost property and graffiti.

People cannot report crimes where there is suspect information, a vehicle theft, weapons-related calls, missing people, runaways, traffic accidents or traffic complaints.

If crimes are in progress or violent, people should call 911. If people have potential suspect information, they should call the police department directly at 360-487-7355.

“Hopefully it will provide people with a little more access to services,” Kapp said.

Data from submitted reports will also be used by crime analysts to track crime.

Paul Suarez: 360-735-4522; http://twitter.com/col_cops;paul.suarez@columbian.com.