Starting today, the public can report non-emergency problems to police online.

The pilot project is starting in Surrey, but will include test cities of Kelowna, Richmond and Ridge Meadows.

It’s designed to give residents alternative ways to report less serious crimes, through or through a mobile app.

The crimes reported are limited to where there is no suspect or witness and immediate follow up by a police officer.

They include:

  • Damage to property valued under $5,000
  • Hit and run to an unoccupied vehicle (or property)
  • Theft of a bicycle (under $5,000)
  • Theft from vehicle (under $5,000)
  • Lost property

RCMP Media Relations Officer Sgt. Janelle Shoihet said this pilot project is a sign of the times.

We are now moving into an era where people want the ability to report crime in more than one avenue,” Shoihet told Pulse FM.

People would want online reporting where they need a police file number for an insurance claim, but don’t need a police officer to attend (such as the crimes listed above).

On another aspect, it allows our dispatchers and officers to focus on the more emergent files,” Shoihet said. If the program is successful, she doesn’t expect a reduction in staff at the call centre, but feels the existing personnel would have more effective use of their time.

The length of the pilot project is now unknown, and Mounties expect to watch the progress over time.

RCMP stress that this is for non-emergency calls. If someone is in need of police immediately, they should call 9-1-1. If it requires police attention, but is not an emergency, people should call 604-599-0502.