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PAWTUCKET â€” Thanks to a new computer program, people can report minor crimes, incidents and even anonymous tips to the Pawtucket Police from the comfort and privacy of their own homes.
At a Monday morning press conference, the Pawtucket Police officially launched an online reporting system that is believed to be the first of its kind in the state. Called the Citizens Online Police Reporting System, police say it is an effective tool that offers convenience for the public as well as a faster way to report data that police can then act upon.
The Pawtucket Police Department actually rolled out the system unannounced several weeks ago for a trial run and the response has been favorable and growing, police officials said. Monday's formal announcement at the Municipal Court chamber was intended to increase public awareness that the system is up and running and also to demonstrate how effective it is and easy to use.
A link to the the Citizens Online Police Reporting System is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is accessed through the Pawtucket Police Department website's home page at www.pawtucketpolice.com.
Categories available for reporting on the new online system include credit card fraud, thefts under $500, vandalism, lost property, abandoned vehicles, theft from vehicles or vehicle parts, and traffic complaints, among many others.
However, major crimes, such as violent assaults and robberies, or information regarding possible suspects, should still be reported directly to a police officer, police officials say.
â€śThis system makes it easy for anyone to file a report online in numerous categories, receive a case number that will be on file with our department, and print out the report for their own use or their insurance company,â€ť said Police Chief Paul King.
Mayor Donald R.Grebien stated, â€śThis is a great example of using technology to maximize our available resources and help keep our police officers on the street instead of being pinned down by paperwork.â€ť
The mayor added, â€śThe trial run has been so successful and the software is so flexible that we have already expanded online reporting for use by our Public Works Department as well.â€ť
This reporting system is called Fix-It Central and can be accessed through a link on the city website, www.pawtucketri.com, Grebien said. There are categories to report defective streets and sidewalks (including potholes), street lights being out, zoning violations, and other complaints, as well as to make requests for bulky items pick-up and other related topics.
Lt. Roberto DaSilva, who has overseen the Citizens Online Police Reporting System, said the program will make it much easier for the public to report misdemeanor offenses and relatively minor incidents.
â€śWe can now offer people the convenience of filing a report from their own home. They will receive an e-mailed copy of the final report without having to come to the police station or have an officer knock on their door,â€ť said DaSilva. â€śIt will also give us up-to-date data on crime and other incidents and where they may be occurring in the city.â€ť
DaSilva said that since the online system was placed on the police department's website last month, over 100 complaints have been logged and 53 police reports filed. He added that the online reporting system is fully integrated with the new RAIDS Online crime mapping system that is also accessed through the Pawtucket Police Department website.
DaSilva said that the online reporting system, created by the California-based company Coplogic Inc., is in use by more than 150 agencies across North America, according to its website, www.coplogic.com.
Chief King stressed that for anyone who does not have the ability to file online reports, nothing will change and they may contact the police directly for a response as always. â€śWhether it's online, on the phone, or in person, the more that people report their concerns to us, the better able we are to respond to them,â€ť he stated.