Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam residents will have to wait to use an online tool for reporting minor crimes.
That’s because four other cities have been chosen for a pilot project that, if successful, could come to the Coquitlam RCMP detachment.
“We’re not part of those initial pilots. If it gets wider approvals, that would affect us,” said Coquitlam RCMP's spokesperson, Cpl. Michael McLaughlin.
Surrey RCMP is set to become the first detachment to test the online crime reporting tool, followed by proposed tests in Ridge Meadows, Kelowna and Richmond later this summer.
The Mounties say the pilot project will allow people to report some non-emergency crimes online, freeing up time for frontline personnel to respond to higher priority calls and emergencies. According to a press release, the B.C. RCMP receives more than a million calls for service every year, amounting to nearly half the total received by the RCMP across Canada.
Residents of the four pilot communities will be able to use the online tool to report crimes such as theft or vandalism amounting to less than $5,000, provided there are no firearms, vehicle licence plates or items relating to personal identity.
The types of crimes that could be reported could include theft from auto and make it easier for people to get information to police, Coquitlam RCMP’s McLaughlin said.
“I think people these days, we hear it all the time, are demanding more access. [With] social media and an online presence that is growing every day, people want more flexibility to report it [crime]. Anecdotally, that’s what we’ve heard, and also it’s more efficient.”
— with files from Canadian Press