Victims of minor crime in Baltimore County can now file a report online, said police, who are planning to demonstrate the system Monday morning at a police precinct in Dundalk.
The new system is intended to more quickly generate crime reports, which are typically required for insurance reimbursement, a statement Friday from police spokeswoman Elise Armacost said. It also frees up department resources, allowing officers to dedicate time to more serious crimes.
The website will allow people to report crimes such as lost and stolen property, abandoned vehicles, destruction of property and theft. More categories of crime may be added to the online system after the initial rollout.
Anne Arundel and Howard counties also allow crime victims to file reports over the Internet.
Victims of crime in Anne Arundel can use the online tool to report crimes including vandalism, theft of property up to $5,000 in value, credit card and identity theft, trespassing, noise violations, loitering and disorderly conduct. Howard's system allows similar categories of crime to be reported online and adds animal and solicitor complaints.
Violent, bias and sex crimes may not be reported through any of the online systems. There is also a time delay to file reports through the counties' Web forms. For instance, in Howard, the crime has to have occurred at least 30 minutes prior to the report being filed. The delay is intended to encourage people to use 911 for emergencies.
The counties vary on what kind of driving incidents can be reported. Anne Arundel does not allow accident reports, but some motor vehicle complaints can be entered into Howard's online system. Baltimore County intends to allow hit-and-run accident reports as long as no one was injured.
Earlier this month, a resolution to set up an online crime reporting program for Baltimore was introduced by City Councilman Brandon M. Scott. A hearing on the topic is scheduled for March 6, Scott said by phone Saturday afternoon.
Several major cities have instituted online crime reporting, including Chicago, Toronto, Portland, Ore., and San Diego.
Online crime reporting tools
Anne Arundel County: http://www.aacounty.org/Police/crimeReport.cfm
Baltimore County: http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/police/onlinereport
Howard County: http://www.co.ho.md.us/filepolicereport.htm