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Posted on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor police introduce new online system to file police reports

By Kyle Feldscher

The Ann Arbor Police Department will now allow people to file police reports for minor crimes on the Internet through the department’s website, officials announced Monday.

According to a statement released by the department, people now can make police reports for harassing phone calls, theft, vandalism, identity theft, lost or damaged property or private property crashes by visiting

The statement said these crimes were chosen because “these reports typically do not require a police interview or follow up investigation but they are often needed for insurance claims or other matters.”

The Ann Arbor Police Services Unit records section, the AAPD detective bureau administration office, the property unit and the police payroll office will have new hours as well. The office will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to noon and 1-4 p.m., Monday through Thursday. The offices are closed on Fridays.

By allowing citizens to file these police reports online, the department will now be able to focus on more urgent matters and people will not have to drive downtown to file a report in person, according to the statement.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 6:05 a.m.

Applied to the right circumstances, this system makes sense to me.

Frustrated in A2

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 3:33 a.m.

I used this report filing program and it's for cases where an incident needs to be documented and there is no suspect and the report wouldn't be followed up on anyway. I see this as a way to make a report at home instead of wasting your time and driving downtown and looking for a parking spot. It's also pretty easy to use.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

AAPD is not under staffed it is disorganized. When you look at many of the surrounding police agencies who are doing more with less what are some of the things that are different from AAPD. Well first and foremost the number of officers versus supervisors (Sgts, LTs, Deputy Chiefs, Chief etc...). Then you look at the number of officers assigned to support duties in stead of patrol, AAPD has lost at least 80 employees over the last few years which is a problem. However the department needs to be restructured. I've asked once and I'll ask again, why doesn't one of the excellent writers at get a break down of the AAPD so that we may see just how many patrol officers we have, sgts, detectives, lieutenants, support staff, evidence techs, traffic officers, property officers, court liason, school officers etc... Oh thats right, why do any actual research or journalism... Good grief. AAPD are some of the best paid officers in the state with great benefits and I understand that there are many duties a police officer must perform and I love our cops but lets face it, one of their duties is to respond to crimes of the nature mentioned in this article, I don't blame our police officers for the mistakes of their administration I blame Barnett Jones, Mayor and City Council.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 6:04 a.m.

You reminded me of how when I worked at the police department I felt like a good amount of police work was really just baby-sitting a certain percentage of the population. I don't mean that as crassly as it probably sounds, but just that a lot of time was taken and effort given to a smallish number of people and businesses with a repeat problems. For the most part, policing is a service industry in Ann Arbor, with a small, but very important part going toward fighting crime.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:58 a.m.

Get a scanner app. You can use it on your computer or cell phone or whatever. Listen. Listen to the types of calls coming in. Listen to the response times of the people who are dispatched. I call this educating ourselves about what our police,emts and fire personnel actually do and how many resources are being used. You might be pleasantly surprised at how well things are going. My amazement is at the number of false alarms they have to run on as well as the number of domestic complaints. Many are repeat calls from the same address. How about car lock outs, well being checks where someone hasn't been able to reach someone else...?


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:18 p.m.

This is a direct result of under staffing, not technology. Victims have now become just a number to count. Even with these minor incidents, they can be major to the victim. The Police front desk is now almost off limits to the public. There is no place close to city hall for a citizen to park. Police dispatch will not be from Ann Arbor, but rather a regional center staffed by well trained but very potentianally, people unfamiliar with Ann Arbor. A police officer showing up to your "Scene of the crime" can make the difference between just anther reported crime and a professional who will look for clues, knows of simular crime patterns in his/her patrol district. Patrol officers do make a difference in how well a crime is reported and investigated. By human nature these called in reports will have low priority on follow up. Not important enought to dispatch a car...not important enough to follow up..sorry. We are quickly loosing our Police Department to a complacient administration who view Police functions as dollar signs and budgets to be met, rather than crime fighting.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:08 p.m.

Fully agree Hunterjim!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:57 p.m.

Boots on the ground are always more valuable when fighting (the war on) crime.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:16 p.m.

I was scratching my head over this too. But then realized I had just gone through what I believed to be identity theft and had spent days tracking, gathering information and working with my bank - without once thinking about filing a police report. In fact, I only thought I might have contacted Michigan State Police Cyber Crimes AFTER my bank told me they believed the unauthorized charges to my credit card were due to a data entry error. The thought was: I'm glad I didn't act in haste: that would have placed needless burden on police resources. Benefit to me: I put in more secure passwords in all key online locations which had my personal data. A lot of work: but something the police have nothing to do with. Because: it's my responsibility to "prevent crimes" and that means extra work. Bike theft a few years ago: I reported that - even though the bike had little monetary value. A couple weeks passed: I spotted my stolen bike chained up in a public place. Called police - they "eventually arrived." I provided proof of ownership (including serial number & receipt). Cop: "I'd cut it loose but there's no bolt cutter in my cruiser." I went home, got the needed tool and recovered my bike myself. As above: I then took steps to better secure my bike(s). THESE are the kinds of crimes referred to. Highlighting: the responsibility of the victim to prevent and provide one's own security against minor (and major) crimes. So now this new system makes better sense - at least to me.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:59 p.m.

Why not just call them "Citzen Reports" and link them all to DHS where we can report, online our neighbors activities too. Cops are cops because other people didn't want to become cops, we pay cops to do things we don't want to do. Part of calling the police to help us is that 1. we don't want to do it 2. we don't know how and 3 it gives us a sense of its in the polices hands and we can breathe a sigh of relief. I for one wouldn't fill out an online report, I will either call it in or come to the station, where an officer can freaking help me, like they should do as that is their job, not mine.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:06 p.m.

A citizen on-line report: 1) did you see what happen, I'm reporting it aren't I? 2) did you get a description of the person, it look like a man 3) what type of man?, not a female 4) what was damage, I don't know I heard noises and a bang but was too afraid to go outside and look 5) when did this happen, last week but I was too busy to file and my hard drive crashed


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:34 p.m.

Pretty simple. There are just so many officers to go around and the number of crimes exceed the capicity of the department to keep up. We, the taxpayor, are willing to pay for just so much. The time between a break-in and the ability to follow up, as said, is basically an insurance claim with little chance of catching them. Eventually, the crooks get too confident and that's usually when they get caught. So, the effort of the police directed to gathering data and using that collection to make arrests. The priority is similar to the priority the laws of punishment dictate. Misdemeaners to felonies. It maybe become a great system if the citizens get on board and file as quickly as possible because patterns could be discovered and lead to the arrest of the crook.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:15 p.m.

Well said.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

"...if the citizens get on board and file as quickly as possible..." this is what calling the police is for.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 2:30 p.m.

What a "cop out" (no pun intended). Is the real reason why this is being introduce is for the police to focus on more urgent matters? Like what? There are more property related crimes in the city as oppose to say, murder. Maybe I don't know the law, and I don't play a cop on TV either, but, is breaking and entering a form of vandalism? So, for example, if someone drives across my lawn and takes out my fence, I have to file a report, on-line, give the description of those involved, like the type of vehicle, direction the vehicle left after destroying my property, description of the person driving the vehicle, maybe even the license plate if I was lucky to capture that. If timely reporting is essential to solving the crime, when will this report be read? Will it be as timely as if I called it in and a police officer came out to my house and recorded the report? Is the real reason this change is taking place is because there aren't enough officers? And, if the purpose for this change is for the homeowner to file a report for their insurance company, why would I need to call the police? I might as well just call my insurance company and have them investigate as the police would. This might even save more time since I now have no middleman (police) to waste more of my time by filing on-line! Oh Ann were once the gem of the midwest.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:23 p.m.

You rock!!!!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:16 p.m.

Oh, ok. Just like Detroit is doing because of so few cops. Good thing Ann Arbor is following in their footsteps. That'll work out great... for criminals.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 1:13 p.m.

&quot;According to a statement released by the department, people now can make police reports for harassing phone calls, theft, vandalism, identity theft, lost or damaged property or private property crashes by visiting <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. The statement said these crimes were chosen because "these reports typically do not require a police interview or follow up investigation but they are often needed for insurance claims or other matters." So you fill in the blanks on a form? I don't understand how this will work in a timely fashion. Isn't there some benefit to reporting these matters quickly and in person so that the perpetrator can be caught? And why wouldn't there be a follow up investigation? I must be really not getting this.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 2:48 a.m.

Tru2Blu76, listen to the scanner. The police do not &quot;take their time&quot; to go talk to the victims of these crimes. The call comes in, the dispatcher relays it to the officer and they go. Perhaps the statement didn't mean to say theft or vandalism.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

To answer your question about timeliness: in practice, there's little or no benefit to fast reporting of these crimes because (1) the perps are rarely caught and (2) even when the perp is known, the police just take their time to go to that perp's address to take action.