TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) - Heather Bland-Ho stays connected with neighbors without leavinghome. So when crime strikes in Steiner Ranch everyone finds outquickly.
"We're always kind of contacting each other by email, 'Hey thishappened 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 CountySheriff's Office online, and wait for a deputy to callback.
"It's nothing difficult at all," said Travis County Sheriff'sOffice spokesperson Roger Wade, while scrolling through the site.
It is not for emergency use, and the crimes have to fall intoone of the categories listed such as theft, vandalism or internetcrime. 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 inNovember more than 800 reports have been filed online. Only12-percent have been rejected, mostly because they happened outsidethe county. Those reports are forwarded on to the properdepartments.
"If you calculate it out we've saved around $32,000," saidWade.
The county says taxpayers spend $40 each time a deputy drivessomewhere to write a report, and takes on average an hour and ahalf. The popularity has more than paid for the $30,000 system inthe first six months.
"One of the reasons I'm really blown away is we didn't do a lotof publicity on this," said Wade. "It's mostly been word ofmouth."
And now Heather can spread the word to her neighbors.
"I hadn't heard about it, but to me it sounds like a great ideabecause I would rather have the police out, you know, focusing onthe larger priorities and the bigger issues," said Heather.
Travis County is the only local agency offering the citizenonline crime reporting option. Austin police said the department isplanning on getting Coplogic at some point.
According to Coplogic, Inc. nearly a dozen other agencies inTexas are using it, and 170 worldwide.
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