AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department (APD) said its new online reporting systems should ultimately allow officers to answer non-emergency reports more quickly.
The system is for non-emergency crimes that include, but are not limited to, burglaries, minor assaults, theft and harassment.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911.
The new system uses Artificial Intelligence, or AI, to generate the report. You still go to iReportAustin.com, but instead of filling out an online form like you would in the past – after you put your address and contact information in on the home page – you chat with an AI bot to submit your report.
You answer a series of questions about the type of crime, which the AI uses to create the report.
In the video below, Lt. Sheldon Askew provides a demonstration of how to use the system.
“This will dramatically decrease the period of time it takes for a citizen to make a report and for it to be ingested into our system,” Askew said.
He said the process of manually ingesting the reports is what held officers up the most with the old system and contributed the most to the backlog.
In October 2021, police asked the public to stop calling 911 for crimes that were no longer in progress and to call 311 or file an online report instead. The goal was to free up officers to respond to emergencies. This helped with emergency response times, but it resulted in backlogs for non-emergency reports.
Warren Loomis, the CEO of Versaterm – the company APD partnered with to launch the system – said the AI system allows for police to have a more complete picture of the crime being reported.
“This latest module is based on AI to better interact and collect info from the citizen to allow them to provide more information to the detectives,” Loomis said.
The system also flags certain crimes – or words, like “gun” – and tells the user to report the incident to 911 instead.
APD said people must meet these guidelines to file an online report:
- No immediate danger to people or property
- The suspect is no longer on-scene
- The reporting party must be 17 years old or older and have a valid email address
The online system accepts the following types of reports:
- Assault (minor or no injury, excluding domestic violence)
- Threats (excluding domestic violence)
- Burglary that does not involve fire/arson
- Theft (excluding prescriptions, firearms, explosives, vehicle license plates, and motor vehicles of any kind)
- Lost or missing property (excluding narcotic prescription medication, vehicle license plates, and firearms)
- Damaged property or Graffiti
- Counterfeiting or Forgery
- Identity theft
- Illegal use of a credit or debit card
- Minor, non-criminal child custody issues for documentation only
- Trespassing (suspect no longer on scene)
- Shoplifting reports