The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office launched its online crime reporting service on Thursday, which allows residents to file crime reports at any time of the day so long as they have access to the internet.
The Citizen Online Reporting system, as the Sheriff’s Office has named the software, is accessible through their website, sbsheriff.org, under the title “File an Online Report” on both desktop and mobile devices.
Kelly Hoover, the public information officer for the County Sheriff’s Office, said the idea for the service was well-researched and that several deputies have worked to bring it into fruition.
“We have deputies who research and selected the Cop Logic program and went through the process of researching what it would take to bring it to Santa Barbara County … and went through all the logistics to make it happen,” she said.
The purpose of this new online tool is to reduce the amount of low-priority phone calls.
In a press release Monday morning, Hoover said the “around-the-clock accessibility” will enable residents to “file a report at a time that is convenient to them without waiting for a deputy to respond or call them back.” Reportable incidents include identity theft, vandalism and stolen property, as well as civil complaints such as animal complaints, harassment via telephone and child custody violations.
Hoover said this will give the deputies who normally file these incidents time to investigate other pressing instances of crime, as the software is meant to streamline the activities of police, “especially during a time when resources are limited.”
The Sheriff’s Office plans to focus more of its time on investigating trends in crime rather than filing reports which individuals themselves are able to submit.
“It just cuts back on the amount of time the deputy is working on paperwork that could be filled out by the citizen,” Hoover said.
She said the site is intuitive, but one problem that users might encounter is failing to understand the law enforcement’s jurisdiction when reporting a crime. Police cannot see to a crime that is outside of its legal capacity, as its system distinguishes on its web page. The Sheriff’s Office will not be investigating crimes outside of the county and encourages citizens to submit reports to their corresponding sheriff’s offices. The Isla Vista Foot Patrol office is located on 6504 Trigo Rd.
For those unsure of how to file a report, the Sheriff’s Office has also created a video tutorial illustrating the process, which they have linked in the preface to their report submission software.
As for the price of installing the online service, Hoover said the system cost $22,500 to install and that it will cost an additional $15,000 per year to keep running.
Despite the online platform, officials say urgent offenses and situations must be reported directly with a 911 call.
“The system is not designed to take the place of the deputy; if residents need to talk to a deputy, by all means we still want them to call,” Hoover said.
A version of this story appeared on p. 5 of the Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017 edition of the Daily Nexus.
Correction: The program is called Cop Logic, not top logic.