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6 Oct 2023

CPOC calls for online and phone crime reporting

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October 6, 2023 Category: Local Posted by:

The Citizen’s Police Oversight Commission (CPOC) recommends that the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) develop a Non-Emergency Crime Reporting Unit to take police reports for certain crimes online and over the phone.

Currently, Philadelphians have to call 911 and wait for an officer to arrive in person when they need to report non-emergency crimes such as theft, vandalism, or car break-ins. Due to other priorities, the wait can be over an hour in many neighborhoods.

Online and phone reporting non-emergency crimes will free up 911 operators and patrol officers to respond to emergency calls for service more quickly. Patrol officers will be able to spend less time on paperwork and more time on proactive community-oriented police work. This shift will help save time for both citizens and officers, particularly as PPD navigates critical staffing challenges.

CPOC reviewed PPD’s current and past procedures for answering non-emergency calls along with research into best practices in other police departments. CPOC recommends:

•  PPD should create a Non-Emergency Reporting Unit, offering telephone and online crime reporting. To reduce the burden on sworn personnel, PPD should use civilians to receive telephone and online crime reports.

•  PPD should thoroughly review all priority 3, 4, and 6 calls to identify all calls that do not require a physical police response.

•  If PPD accepts these recommendations, CPOC can assist the department in their efforts to establish a new unit.

•  If a Non-Emergency Reporting Unit is established, CPOC will collect data, publish progress reports, and monitor the unit’s effectiveness.

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