BANGOR, Maine — When residents call to report minor crimes, such as the theft of a iPod from their car by an unknown person, police now will ask whether they want to file the paperwork online or wait for an officer.
“We will tell them there is a wait time of however many minutes and give them the option to report online,” Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said about the new reporting option. “And if they want an officer they will get one anytime.”
Residents will be directed to bangormaine.gov/policereport to file reports of minor theft, burglary to a motor vehicle, criminal mischief, vandalism and lost property, as well as crime tips and harassing or annoying phone calls.
“These incidents can only be reported online if there is no evidence to be collected, there are no suspects, [and] the incident happened within the city limits of Bangor with the exceptions of [Interstate 95] and I-395,” Edwards said in a press release.
The online option is never to be used in an emergency, the sergeant stressed.
“We don’t want emergency calls to be filed in this format,” Edwards said.
The option to use the online program is nullified if the victim knows who may have committed the crime, he said.
“If you know who committed the crime or have a suspect, give us a call,” he said.
Edwards said the new online option “will allow officers more time to address community needs while keeping pace with the public expectancy to complete services via the Internet.”
Once the report is filed online, the filer will be able to print a receipt. The report will be reviewed by police personnel and once approved, the filer will be sent an email.
“The report will transfer into the Bangor Police Department’s records management system and receive the same investigation and statistical analysis ability as if the report had been filed by a police officer,” the press release states.
Residents are already using the reporting system, Edwards said, relaying a story about a man who reported his bicycle missing and then later found it and filed a supplemental report — all online.
“That would have taken at least an hour of an officer’s time,” Edwards said.
Businesses can also use the system, he said.
The Bangor Police Department is using Desk Officer Online Reporting System software from California-based software company Coplogic Inc.
The link has been added to the city’s website.
“The service will allow the public to file a report at a time that is best for them without having to wait for an officer to respond or call them back,” the press release states.