BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Filing a police report over the phone may be the answer to freeing up more officers.
It’s a pilot program that will start in a couple of weeks in the city’s Northeast District.
But Andrea Fujii explains it’s already getting mixed reviews.
Between 4 p.m. and midnight, the Northeast District gets a lot more police calls than other areas. So to ensure resources aren’t used on minor offenses, the department is introducing a new program.
Victims will be able to file a police report over the phone for non-violent crimes, like vandalism or property crimes.
“We want to make sure that officers that are patrolling the streets are available to respond to priority incidents: burglaries, robberies, shootings,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore City Police.
Police say it will free up four more police cars, appeasing City Councilman Robert Curran who recently told constituents when they call 911 say there’s a gun involved to get a quicker response.
“Statements in the past are statements in the past. Results now may be happening because of those statements, but we’re moving forward,” said Curran.
This isn’t a novel idea. Residents in Montgomery and Howard Counties can already report some crimes online. San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Harford and Nashville have similar programs.
But residents in the Northeast District have mixed feelings.
“You want to see somebody in person. You feel that they’re really concerned about the neighborhood,” said Thelma Wharton, Northeast Baltimore resident.
“If it’s not life-threatening, they shouldn’t be out spending all that taxpayer money,” said Wendall Wray, Northeast Baltimore resident.
If successful, police may expand the program citywide.
Crime victims in the Northeast District can file a police report by calling them directly at 410-396-2444. After it’s filed, an officer may be dispatched to collect evidence.