I don’t know about other major urban centers, but Edmonton has it figured out! Here’s how to keep crime down. Or at least crime statistics…
Set up two citizen call-in numbers. One is for emergencies, the other is to report a crime.
When the caller reaches line #2, have an answering machine direct him (or her, but we shall use the generic him; please, no flack), direct him to indicate which crime type his experience falls under. If it falls under more than one, as in personal, vehicle damage under $5000, or property theft from vehicle, he may become frustrated or confused, hang up and not call back. Stats down one point. YAY!
If caller persists, direct him to an online report form. If caller does not have access to internet, Stats down one point. YAY!
If caller does have internet, and is sufficiently incensed by the crime committed against him to still want to file a report, direct him to the online report form.
Allow caller to answer 7, 496 questions, some of which will require caller to pause while he calls to get an estimate on repairs (as in replacing the 2 smashed out side windows of our son’s truck), or looks up the value of the property stolen (as in the replacement cost of our neighbour’s barbecue). By the time caller reaches the end of the report form, tell him the session has timed out. Please begin again. (Neither our son nor our neighbour followed through.) Stats down two points. YAY!
As of today, Edmonton’s June statistics do not reflect the mini crime spree that occurred in our back alley last night. However, our tenacious neighbour, the one now missing a barbecue, is tracking down the fella a few house away who has a security camera. Maybe he caught someone on video!