The Alberta RCMP are reminding the public that without proper reporting, crimes can not be investigated, charges can not be laid, and future crimes can not — hopefully — be prevented.
This reminder comes as advances in technology and increasing ability to share information online means more and more are turning to third-party digital reporting applications in lieu of calling 911.
Because these applications are unaffiliated with the RCMP, or any of the other major Canadian police forces, the crimes reported via these applications remain unreported to police, meaning they have no idea where resources need to be allocated.
“App reports are dependant on the number of users and the level of engagement by users in an area,” said Supt. Peter Tewfik, officer in charge of crime reduction strategies, Alberta RCMP.
“As a result crime may appear hyper-localized in certain communities when in fact the app is unable to provide an accurate representation of the criminal activity across a larger geographical area because of variations in engagement in different places.”
Tewfik notes that Alberta RCMP are unable to respond to reports made over social media due to the requirement of formal reporting and information gathering.
“These reports tell us where to look, who to look for, and where to patrol in the future,” stated a recent RCMP media release.
The Alberta RCMP encourages all Albertans who may be victims of crime or would like to report suspicious activity to report the matter to their local police agency prior to posting the information online.
“It is important to remember that simply discussing or reporting crime over social media or on unverified apps is not the same as reporting crime to law enforcement. If you don’t report it, we may not know about it,” says Supt. Tewfik.
While discussing digital applications, the RCMP is in the final stages of development of their own which will link to a non-urgent online crime reporting site, Crime Stoppers tip page, and include local area crime maps across local detachment jurisdictions.
To report a crime in progress, call 911.
To report a non-urgent crime, the matter can be reported to the nearest RCMP detachment, online ocre-sielc.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/alberta/en, anonymously at 1-800-222-8477, or anonymously online at www.P3Tips.com.