By Andrea Stone (Fort Carson)October 24, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Victims of minor crime on Fort Carson will have a new way to report, beginning Nov. 1. A new website will allow residents to report minor crimes, such as theft of bicycles, license plates, vandalism and other nuisance crimes.
"We want to better serve them as quickly as possible," said Lt. Bob Covelli, technology division, Fort Carson police.
Under the current process, victims can call the dispatcher, or they can go to the Provost Marshal's Office to file a report.
"We're looking at an easier way for people to report minor crimes. Instead of having to wait for an officer to respond or come down to the office, they'll be able to go online and report minor crimes," said Mark Crozier, Fort Carson police chief.
Police will still respond to crimes in progress, house break-ins and other crimes where there could be important evidence, he said.
When a report is made on the new website, http://www.carson.army.mil/PMO, it will come to the desk sergeant for review.
"It's kind of a built-in safeguard," Crozier said. "Because what some people consider minor, we may see a pattern or something going on that they wouldn't see, but we'll pick it up."
The police picked up on a pattern during the summer when they received several calls from one village, all the callers saying that people had been in their houses, but nothing was missing.
"We sent a directed patrol … and found that all the neighbors, every house, had their back doors open, and they just forgot to close them," Crozier said. "So when they came home, they were saying that someone was in their house because the back door was open. It was taking a lot of man-hours for something that wasn't actually happening."
After the report goes to the desk sergeant for review, it's assigned a number. The person who filed the report will be notified that their report was received, and then will receive another notification with the report number.
"There's proof that it's actually been submitted and didn't go into the black hole," Covelli said. "(Then) you're going to get a case report number, in case you have insurance to deal with."
If someone tries to file a report for a crime that needs a police response, the desk sergeant will flag it.
"It spells it out on the website, these are the guidelines, what we consider a crime that can be reported on the website and what shouldn't be," Covelli said. "If a person does report because it's not clear to them or they don't understand … that process will pick it up."
When the report is filed, the victim is required to provide an email address or other contact information.
In addition to reporting crime, residents will be able to give anonymous tips through the website or through text messaging. The website will provide directions on submitting tips.
The website coincides with recent changes to police patrols on the installation.
Regular patrols no longer respond to minor crimes. Instead, there's a community service officer on each shift dedicated to responding to those calls. The goal is to reduce response times to emergency calls, Crozier said.
"We're going from a reactive police department to a proactive (one)," he said.
Freeing up patrol officers to respond to emergencies rather than filing reports for minor crimes could result in less crime.
"We want to be there so we don't have burglaries," Crozier said. "(We'll have) more profile, better patrols. (Patrols) are driving around instead of parked, doing a report."
Some of the minor crime on Fort Carson could be prevented by residents themselves.
"A lot of people here think, I live on Fort Carson. It's tough to get in the gates. They don't secure their property and think everything will be fine," he said. "People are lulled into a false sense of security."