Victoria’s Police Department has become the first in Canada to launch a mobile app where users can report crimes.
Called ‘Mobile VicPD’, the app sends out alerts for missing people, lets you read the latest releases, look at maps of the crimes in your neighbourhood, and look at photos and videos.
“What we’re able to do with our new app now is have a very interactive time with our community,” says Cst. Mike Russell with the Victoria Police. “They’re able to report crimes online through our mobile reporting system. There’s about 10 different types of crime that people can report online, obviously not in progress, if it’s in progress we still need that phone call.”
Created in consultation with the company ‘Mobile PD’, the app is currently available for IOS and will soon be available for Android.
“We also have an alert feature,” says Russell, “which is probably the biggest one for us. What that allows us to do is send out push notifications. So say we’re investigating the disappearance of a five-year-old kid, We’re able to take that picture, put out a release right away with their age and a photograph, and it’s going to go to everybody’s iPhone and iPad instantly.”
“We’re not talking about any delay. We’re talking instantly.”
The RCMP also has a smartphone app, which shares news and releases but does not have a reporting feature.
Russell says mobile devices have now replaced desktops and with Victoria being such a tech-orientated city, they wanted to go where the conversations were happening.
“It’s important for us to have a way for us to interact with people if we’re doing that and be able to get them timely and pertinent information,” he says.
Users can also use the app to connect with the Victoria Police through their social media and apply to join their detachment.