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Opinion: Online crime reporting a good step

RCMP initiative aimed at property crime
opinion

A new crime reporting online initiative launched by Alberta RCMP will help victims of property crimes by making it easier to start police investigations – and harder on criminals to get away with their nefarious deeds.

Only time will tell whether reporting crimes online will lead in the long run to a reduction in property offences. What is known is that making it easier for residents to get the police involved is certainly a good step forward in terms of community safety and security.

Under the initiative residents can now report various crimes online, including theft under $5,000, theft from a vehicle under $5,000, theft of a bicycle under $5,000, damage/mischief to property under $5,000, and lost property.

Incidents being reported must meet a number of criteria, including that the lost or stolen items cost less than $5,000 to replace and that vandalized items cost less than $5,000 to repair.

Crimes reported through the online service (ocre-sielc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/alberta) will be followed up by officers in the RCMP’s call back unit, which has been put in place to address non-urgent calls for service.

“Online crime reporting is accessible and convenient, and will help us capture more intelligence when it comes to property crime occurring in all of the communities we serve,” says Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki.

With the majority of crimes occurring in rural Alberta involving theft of property, the new online reporting system should help victims report crimes more quickly and officers respond in the same way.

Of course the new system will only work if the RCMP is given the resources, particularly in terms of manpower, to follow up the calls efficiently and effectively.

Whether those resources will be forthcoming will depend, in large part, on the political willingness of the provincial government.

While the new online reporting initiative is unlikely to deter criminals from stealing other people’s property, it will hopefully prove to be effective in ensuring that more criminal activity is brought quickly to the attention of the police.

Dan Singleton is an editor with The Albertan.