If you’ve been a victim of property crime, Alberta RCMP are urging you to report it using their online reporting tool.
The report takes approximately 15 minutes to complete and can be done on a variety of platforms.
According to Cst. Chantelle Kelly with the Media Relations Group, online crime reporting is a tool which has been used by other police forces for quite some time already.
The RCMP launched their tool in May 2020 and have received more than 780 reports since then.
Asked for a local breakdown of reports made with the online tool, Kelly said the Cold Lake RCMP had received 19 reports, Bonnyville three, Lac La Biche one, St. Paul six, Elk Point two, and Vermilion zero.
“We were noticing people sometimes don’t report if there’s been something that’s been stolen from their property. They say ‘there’s nothing they can do. I don’t I don’t know who’s involved.’ And they don’t bother. They don’t think it’s necessary, or they don’t want to tie up police resources. But we need these statistics, we need to be able to allocate resources and create crime trends. So we want people to report,” said Kelly.
She said online reporting is available for property crime where the stolen items are valued at less than $5,000 or the repair bill will be less than $5,000.
“For example, you can’t have any witnesses or suspects, video surveillance, things like that, where police would actually have to go to a business or residents to follow up. And if things that were stolen, were say license plates, personal identity documents, or firearms, that would not be allowed through this system,” said Kelly.
“It’d be great for things taken off from your property, sheds, quonsets, from your motor vehicles, things like that.”
She said the way the online tool is designed, it will direct you to call the local detachment or 1-855-565-7555 to make the report if it determines the incident requires further investigation.
According to Kelly, one of the strengths of the online tool is that it also allows you to enter in things like serial numbers or photographs of the stolen items. She said she couldn’t stress enough how much important documenting your property is.
“For example, if you have property that was stolen from you and you don’t have a serial number, the likelihood of us being able to match up found property or seized property and get it back to that owner is very slim, unless there’s very identifiable or there’s some sort of marking on it. Otherwise, we can’t prove that that actually belongs to somebody,” said Kelly.
Once a report is filed, Kelly said it is processed by the Police Reporting and Occurrence System Data Centre and sent on to the Call Back Unit, which specifically handles non-emergency calls. According to the online reporting tool, a member of the call back unit will contact you within five business days.
In the past year, the call back unit has diverted over 8,300 calls in the province of Alberta, the rough equivalent of 18.5 General Duty Constable’s workloads. Kelly said there are eight to ten RCMP members working in the unit.