LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - It's been over a year since the Lawton Police Department started allowing residents to fill out police reports online and so far, they say it's been a success.
The change went into effect in February of 2016 and is geared towards specific crimes. From last February through the end of 2016, 866 online reports were filed. As for 2017, the department said it's on pace to receive over 1,000 reports, having received 576 so far in 2017.
Since the beginning of this year, the department had about 6000 reports total, but this includes the crimes that are not eligible for online reporting.
The change was made to help the officers in Lawton. Police said the change would allow officers to respond to more serious calls while still allowing other cases to have reports filed on them in a timely manner.
Offense Clerk for the Lawton Police Department Lindsay Tate said the numbers potentially increasing this year show that the online filing method is working.
"People will file their reports and it seems to be working because they don't have to have an officer come out just for minimal reports just damage to property and stuff," Tate said.
There are 11 types of crimes that you can report online, ranging from burglaries to harassment and noise complaints.
"Damaged property, larcenies from yards, people come steal stuff out of your yard you can file that report and then send it to your insurance company. The officers are not involved in that, they don't have to go out there and it kind of saves them for other stuff," Tate said.
Allowing officers to focus on other aspects of their job is one reason to fill out an online report, but Tate said it will also save you a lot of time.
"They don't have to contact the police department, they don't have to wait for an officer to come out when they are available. They can do the report right then and they've got it done," Tate said.
All you have to do is go here and click on departments. Then select the police option. Click on services on the top of the page and then choose submit report. Scroll down a bit a find click to file report online. Then, you just have to type in your information. After you file your report you just have to pick it up at the police department. It takes about 72 hours for the report to be finalized and in the system.
Tate said the department is now working on the best way to contact people when their police reports are rejected. She said most reports that are rejected are because whatever was filed in the report is out of the department's jurisdiction.