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Clicking to fight crime
Online reporting frees up police, saves victims time
Police Report
Part of the online crime report form.

The quickest way to get what you need from the Manteca Police Department for cold low-level property crimes is a click — or a screen tap — away.
Manteca’s online reporting system that’s been in place since 2005 has proven to save time of both victims and officers as well as save taxpayers’ money. Waiting for an available officer can often take hours which means the victim is tied up for that time.
“It is meant for property crimes that are cold,” noted Police Chief Nick Obligacion.
Through the first 11 months of this year, citizens filed 1,025 reports. That reflects saving 768.75 hours of officers’ time or $56,375. While the city doesn’t actually save the money, what it does is free up those officers to pursue more pressing matters including being able to patrol in a bid to deter crime.
“If a citizen insists on an officer we will send one (or a community service officer),” the police chief noted.
But since cold property crimes aren’t on the first two tiers for response priority — lives in danger or a crime such as a burglary in progress take top priority — the wait for an officer could run into hours if not longer.
The cold crimes that tend to dominate online reporting are vehicle burglaries, thefts, grand thefts, graffiti, vandalism and lost property. Others include hit and run where parked vehicles have been damaged. Forgery, identify theft and harassing phone calls are among other crimes that can be reported online. In all cases, the police chief stressed, they are crimes where the perpetuators have long fled the scene and the victim is only discovering them.
“If there is a crime in progress residents need to call us immediately,” the chief said.
The online is particularly beneficial to those that need police reports for insurance purposes. By filing the information a report is generated that the victim can then access.
The online crime is also viewed by officers that will respond back if requested to do so.
Even if there is no response besides the confirmation online reports receive, it provides the department with invaluable information.
One reason reporting low-level property crimes is important is that it allows the generation of crime incident maps that are placed in the briefing room. Officers can quickly see where trends are developing for things such as auto burglary or vandalism. Given the fact patrol staffing is spread thin, it allows officers to zero in on problem areas and often successfully catch culprits in the act. Obligacion stressed the on-line “is only for cold cases” and not crimes in progress. It also excludes other crimes such as residential burglaries and vehicle thefts that police will need to go to the scene to gather evidence. But in the case where there is no known suspects or is of a lower priority, the on-line is quicker for the citizen and frees up police for pro-active enforcement. Online meets the requirements for insurance companies to report losses. It is an official report, however, so information has to be correct and not fraudulent. If it is, the partying filing the report can be charged with making a false crime report.
At is estimated that a typical report when made by an officer takes 45 minutes between the response time, talking to the victim and typing in the information. The cost of an officer is pegged at $55 per hour.
The department averaged five online reports a week its first year in operation in 2005. Last month, 28 reports a week were made on lone.
To report a cold crime online, go to, click on police and then click online reporting for various options.