NYPD offers online filing of police reports for certain crimes for public convenience and COVID measure

online filing of police reports
(Screenshot via NYPDonline.org)

NYPD announced an update to their online portal that will allow New Yorkers to file police reports digitally rather than going into a precinct on Wednesday.

Department officials told reporters that not only does the new feature on NYPDonline.org prevent the need for face-to-face interactions between the public and officers and aid the police in performing administrative tasks, according to Deputy Commissioner Danielle Pemberton.

“This has just launched and really gives the public an ability to file their complaint from really anywhere that has internet access, which is a pretty big change from where we were a couple of weeks ago,” Pemberton said. “It really helps us streamline the complaint process. It helps us continue to build on the improvements to their customer service that we’re providing. And it actually helps us free up some officer time that’s associated with the administrative components of processing these complaints. And of course, as we’re still in a place where we’re fighting this pandemic every day.”

Officials said that once an incident is reported through the portal, an officer will review the filing and determine whether or not to reject the report which could happen if the information is incomplete. Anything from graffiti, petit larceny, lost property to criminal mischief can be filed through the website, something Deputy Commissioner Matthew Frazer said can speed the process for New Yorkers who are only in need of a police report for insurance purposes and not necessarily looking for justice.

Pemberton said these four categories are only available for online filing due the nature of these being the most common forms of complaints received by the department and the easiest to file without the aid of an officer. The department is undergoing analysis to expand on what kinds of complaints can work through this system.

“If you’re going to report graffiti through this system, you’re gonna have the ability to upload photos of the graffiti. Additionally, you know there’ll be disqualifiers, if it was a hate crime related bias, related to one of the qualifying questions. In that case, you can send it off and there’s going to be a larger investigation,” John Cappelmann, deputy chief of the office of management, analysis and planning, said.

Since 2010, these four categories have represented an average of 23% of all reports filed with NYPD.

Officials claim the effort to work this into the website was a top priority for NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea at the time he was appointed in late 2019 to the position by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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