Fresno Co residents can now report some crimes online

FRESNO, Calif.

Do-it-yourself reporting has several plusses. You can get a case number faster and you don't have to wait until a deputy is free to take a call that's not an emergency.

A burglary in progress brought several deputies to the Mayfair area Tuesday afternoon.

A resident called 9-1-1 to report he was home alone when a group of three young men tried to break into his house.

Only five deputies patrol the metropolitan Fresno County area each shift, and most of the time, they are rushing from call to call.

So when there's a crime that's already happened, or isn't as pressing, they are offering a new option so deputies can get to more urgent matters.

Citizens can write a report that will be sent to a deputy to review, once it's determined there's no follow up needed, it will be forwarded to the victim and available to print.

Several other local law enforcement agencies are already using the tool as a way to save money and streamline the reporting process.

Only certain crimes are eligible for victims to write their own report, they are harrassing phone calls, theft, auto theft or burglary, identity theft, fradulent use of a credit card, lost property, and vandalism.

And you can do it yourself online as long as it's not an emergency, in other words, the event is over; if the crime has occurred in an unincorporated area of Fresno County and there are no known suspects or evidence at the scene; also, the incident did not occur on a freeway.

Those residents who call 9-1-1 to report crimes that qualify for online reporting will also be offered that option by dispatchers.

But the sheriff says residents who are victims of any crime, who still want a personal visit, will get one.

"If a citizen wants a deputy sheriff to respond, they are still going to respond, citizens do feel they are owed that service," Sheriff Margaret Mims said.

The program was paid for by a grant but it costs $10 thousand a year to maintain the service. The sheriff says already since March 1st it's saved the Sheriff's Office about $16 thousand.

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