Residents can now file police reports, track crime online

January 7, 2011

By Tim Pfarr

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Newcastle residents and others served by the King County Sheriff’s Office have two new Internet-based resources at their disposal when it comes to reporting minor crimes and tracking crime in the region.

The King County Sheriff’s Office website now offers a new feature known as Report to Sheriff, which allows residents to notify police of incidents by typing reports on their computers rather than by waiting on hold on the phone.

Through Report to Sheriff, residents can file and print reports for general property theft, mail theft, identity theft, bicycle theft, car prowls, vandalism and suspicious circumstances. They can also anonymously report narcotics activity or file traffic complaints.

To report an incident, there must not be a suspect nor evidence left by a suspect. It also mustn’t have occurred on a state freeway or Metro or Sound Transit bus.

If the crime is in progress or it is an emergency, dial 911, the site reminds.

For more information about what crimes can be reported online, visit the Report to Sheriff website or call the King County Sheriff’s Office nonemergency line at 206-296-3311.

Newcastle Police Chief Melinda Irvine said the new system will be very helpful to those who are victims of minor crimes.

“When people want to file a report over the phone these days, the wait can be long,” she said, adding that the convenience of the new system should encourage people to report minor crimes when they may not otherwise do so.

“We want to know when crimes and activities are occurring,” she said.

In October, the King County Sheriff’s Office and its 13 contract cities joined the website Crime Reports, which pinpoints crimes and sex offenders on a map driven by Google maps. The site also links to the state sex offender registry, which gives details about each sex offender’s convictions.

The site also allows users to track trends in given areas, and sort crimes by type, date and location. Users can also sign up for crime alerts. Some independent police departments, such as Renton, have also joined the site, allowing users to see crime data across jurisdictions.

The site also has an iPhone application.

“It’s a great way for people to look at their area and see what criminal activity may or may not be around it,” Irvine said.

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