ELKHART — In an effort to conserve resources, the Elkhart County Sheriff's Department will now require citizens to report minor crimes online.
Sheriff's officers spend 60 minutes on average to complete a report for a minor theft or vandalism, according to a department news release issued Friday, March 28.
Online reporting could save officers an estimated 1,000 hours a year, allowing them to spend more time on patrols and responding to emergency calls, according to the release.
To report a minor theft or minor vandalism, citizens should go to www.elkhartcountysheriff.com and click the "Report a Crime Online" button on the right side of the page.
People without Internet access should report minor crimes by filing a report at the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Center, 26861 C.R. 26, or by calling the Patrol Division at 574-891-2300 and completing a report by phone.
Both of these options are available during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
All reports submitted online, in person and by phone will be reviewed by a detective and shared with the officers who patrol that neighborhood.
"The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Department will perform whatever follow-up can be done and is committed to helping victims and prosecuting those responsible for crimes," the news release said.
Citizens should still call 911 to report emergencies or crimes that are actually occurring.
The department's 35 patrol officers responded to more than 100,000 calls in 2013. They investigated 1,500 theft and vandalism cases last year, only 187 of which were reported online, according to the news release.