I fight crime with a little help from my friends
By Allen Payton
Recently, residents have asked questions on social media, about calls that the Antioch Police Department dispatch does not take and why. Captain Tammany Brooks offered the following explanation and information, and the process for online reporting the APD is asking residents to follow, to assist in their efforts:
“Here are certain incidents and/or crimes where dispatch will direct the caller to complete an online report. Antioch is not unique in this aspect, as many other agencies use this service as well (including Brentwood, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, and Walnut Creek just to name a few locally).
When the citizen completes the online report, the report is reviewed and (if completed correctly) approved by a patrol supervisor. This report is then given an Antioch case number and is routed to Records and sometimes the Investigations bureau. If it is a Part 1 crime (i.e. theft report), it is coded appropriately to be included in the UCR report sent to the FBI.
An event generated by dispatch is generally handled by an officer who gets dispatched to make contact with the reporting party. If a report is taken, it too is routed to Records and possibly Investigations in the same manner as the online reports. In other words, the completed product (report) is the same and ends up in the same place regardless of whether it was generated by an officer or a citizen filing an online report. But if an event is not generated, and an officer is not dispatched, you are correct that this incident would not show up in the weekly total calls for service. This is the case with all online reports whether the citizen called dispatch first or not.
Now, to answer your question as to how APD would know about a crime if an officer is not dispatched and the citizen does not file an online report…we won’t. We can only stat the crimes we know about, just like any other agency. Understand, online reports are used in limited circumstances, designed as a convenience for our citizens and to free up officers to handle other crimes that require a response. If for some reason a person cannot complete an online report, he/she can demand an officer and one will be dispatched. Obviously, like every other call to be dispatched, it is placed in a queue and will be sent to an officer when one is available (which may take an extended period of time since calls are dispatched based on priority). As I’m sure you already know, it would be MUCH quicker and easier for a citizen to just go online and complete a report than it would be to wait for an officer to come take the same report. Heck, we even have a link to the online reporting system on our PD app so people can complete the report on their smart phone if they like.
So, to close the loop on this, every agency is faced with the “unreported crime” issue. We cannot force people to report a crime, but obviously we need their cooperation. I back the chief 100% in that we want people to report crimes. Not just so we can track them, but so that if a lead is established, we can hold the people responsible for these crimes accountable for their actions. But in today’s technologically advanced society, this may not always mean making a call into dispatch. Documentation of certain crimes can be more quickly and efficiently handled through these online reports, and I would encourage people to take advantage of this service when the need arises.
p.s. Also, I will remind you that calls for service and crime stats are two completely separate and individually distinct measurements of different things. Not all crime reports come from a call for service, and not all calls for service result in crime reports.”
So, be a friend to the Antioch Police Department and help them fight crime by either calling dispatch, texting an anonymous tip to to the PD by texting: 274637 (CRIMES) and including the word ANTIOCH in the body of the text, or by completing an online report. Here’s the link to the online report form or visit the APD’s webpage on the City of Antioch’s website, for the link to the online report on the left side of the page.