The Crusader Newspaper Group

Gary police launch online crime reporting

By Stephanie Gadlin, Special to the Gary Crusader

The Gary Police Department has launched a new tool in combating the city’s growing crime problem by giving citizens a 21st Century tool used in other major cities to report on minor offenses. The online crime reporting portal can be found at the agency’s website and citizens are reminded to call 911 for stricter emergencies.

Residents can use the online system to report battery, intimidation, lost property, telephone harassment, theft, threats and vandalism. Police officials warned that filing a false report remains a criminal offense.

The tool comes as City officials, clergy, community leaders and others continue to partner to stem the tide of rising violence. It also comes days after a shootout left a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent critically wounded, and the shooting of a 20-year Chicagoan in the Paradise Lounge, 5004 Broadway, about 11:45 p.m. this past Saturday, in which the suspect remains at large.

The new online reporting tool will free up much-needed police personnel to pursue more serious crimes by allowing residents the ability to start the paperwork and reporting moments after an incident occurs, rather than flood the City’s emergency system with those sort of calls.

“[GPD] now has online reporting,” said Lieutenant Dawn Westerfield, the agency’s public information officer, via email.  “Citizens may file reports online for incidents that are minor in nature. The link may be used to start the online reporting process. The online system may also be used to supplement reports that have already been filed. Select “Start Report” at the bottom of the page to begin.

The online citizen police report system allows people to submit a report immediately, with the promise of having a dedicated set of law enforcement officials on hand to respond. According to Westerfield, residents should use the system when the issue “is not an emergency, has occured within the Gary City limits and not in the unincorporated area of Calumet Township, and did not occur on a State freeway.”

If a complainant meets those criteria, he/she will be allowed to submit a report which will be assigned a temporary police report case number.

Freeman-Wilson joins national call for sensible gun policy

In other local law enforcement news, on Monday Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson joined other mayors and law enforcement officials in calling for sensible gun laws during the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 86th annual meeting held in Boston June 8 through June 11.

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Chief of Police Richard Allen

The U.S. Conference of Mayors joined the Major Cities Chiefs Association in a press conference as they adopted the ‘sensible gun policy,’ and formally called on Congress and the federal government to make specific legislative changes.

The mayors formally adopted the sensible gun policy resolution and called on the U.S. Congress to: adopt universal background checks for all gun sales and close both gun show and Internet loopholes; ensure that prohibited gun purchases cover all appropriate domestic violence cases; support “Red Flag” regulations to preclude gun purchases by mentally disturbed persons with histories of violent acts; ban high capacity magazines (10+ rounds); prevent known terrorists from purchasing firearms and/or ammunition; and banning internet ammo sales, requiring customers to engage in in-person transactions and for vendors to record all sales and licensing.

Mayor Freeman-Wilson serves as chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Criminal and Social Justice Standing Committee, and recently told reporters the national “sea change” is an opportunity for USCM to pull its gun policies together. “The good news is it’s being led by young people,” she said, referring to the courageous efforts of students across the nation, led by survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL, on February 14, 2018.

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