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Manchester Police will now allow residents to report nonviolent crimes online

Gaby Lozada

The Manchester Police Department launched a new online feature that allows residents to report nonviolent crimes that are not happening in real-time, such as vandalism, car break-ins, or package theft.

The goal, in part, is to alleviate the volume of calls on the city’s emergency lines. Police said these nonviolent incident reports saturate the city's emergency system, making it hard to ensure a proper follow up.

Instead of calling or going to the police department in person, residents are encouraged to fill out a form on the Manchester Police Department website. But if there is an emergency, people should still call 911.

“This will help the citizens save time,” said Lieutenant Mathew Barter, who serves as the chief of staff for Manchester Police.

Until now, Barter said it took a few hours to follow up with someone who reported a nonviolent crime a call back to take a formal report. But with the new tool, the incidents are immediately triaged and sent to supervisors for investigation.

So far in 2022, the city has received at least 2,905 reports of nonviolent incidents. Barter said the police struggle to track all of them in a timely manner.

“We are having staffing challenges,” said Barter. “This may help alleviate the stress that we feel.”

Five Police Service Specialists, who are civilian administrative staffers, will review the reports seven days a week, from 5 a.m to midnight. If they need more information about an incident, they will follow up with the person who reported it.

Barter said the police would also use the data recollected to identify clusters of crime. There is also a special entry for businesses that want to report shoplifting because, Barter said, police have received increased shoplifting reports during the past year.

“Some are discouraged from reporting when they see they have to wait in line,” he said. "We hope more people are motivated to do it.”

Gabriela Lozada is a Report for America corps member. Her focus is on Latinx community with original reporting done in Spanish for ¿Qué hay de Nuevo NH?.
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