Atlanta Police officials suggest ‘self-service' for filing criminal reports

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When a thief smashes a car window and steals anything of value, the owner is left feeling frustrated and angry.

And when the call to 911 leads to no quick action from police, the motorist's frustration can turn to a boil.

The Atlanta Police Department’s top brass ranks larceny from a vehicle as a minor crime, so an officer may not get to you quickly. The officer may be at a higher priority call, such as a violent act.

The city is offering an alternative to a long wait for service. Citizens will be able to go on the police department web site and file a criminal report.

The self-service reporting is not for violent acts. Instead, property crimes can be reported, vandalism and other acts deemed minor.

Chief Erika Shields briefed the Atlanta City Council on the program. She stressed citizens do not have to use the option. A 911 operator will still send an officer out for, say, a larceny from auto call but be prepared to wait.