Updated: Thursday, 01 Jul 2010, 10:27 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 01 Jul 2010, 9:52 PM CDT
TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - Heather Bland-Ho stays connected with neighbors without leaving home. So when crime strikes in Steiner Ranch everyone finds out quickly.
"We're always kind of contacting each other by email, 'Hey this happened last night or overnight' or 'kind of be on the lookout, make sure you're putting your cars in your garage or locking up,"' said Heather.
Now, in the same sitting they can report the crime on the Travis County Sheriff's Office online, and wait for a deputy to call back.
"It's nothing difficult at all," said Travis County Sheriff's Office spokesperson Roger Wade, while scrolling through the site .
It is not for emergency use, and the crimes have to fall into one of the categories listed such as theft, vandalism or internet crime. Crime tips can also be submitted.
"It's a great success as far as we're concerned at this point," said Wade.
Since the program, called Coplogic , launched in November more than 800 reports have been filed online. Only 12-percent have been rejected, mostly because they happened outside the county. Those reports are forwarded on to the proper departments.
"If you calculate it out we've saved around $32,000," said Wade.
The county says taxpayers spend $40 each time a deputy drives somewhere to write a report, and takes on average an hour and a half. The popularity has more than paid for the $30,000 system in the first six months.
"One of the reasons I'm really blown away is we didn't do a lot of publicity on this," said Wade. "It's mostly been word of mouth."
And now Heather can spread the word to her neighbors.
"I hadn't heard about it, but to me it sounds like a great idea because I would rather have the police out, you know, focusing on the larger priorities and the bigger issues," said Heather.
Travis County is the only local agency offering the citizen online crime reporting option. Austin police said the department is planning on getting Coplogic at some point.
According to Coplogic, Inc. nearly a dozen other agencies in Texas are using it, and 170 worldwide.