Austin Police Department officials said the new system is aimed at cutting down both wait times for Austinites looking to file a report as well as the investigation timeline for police. APD officials said the program's AI system interviews those submitting a report to collect relevant details before sharing that information with the police department.
"We are confident this technology will streamline the reporting process, alleviate the current backlog for APD nonemergency requests submitted via 311 and provide community members personalized attention to their incidents," APD officials said in a statement.
While emergencies should still be reported by calling 911, APD officials said the reporting system can be used when no immediate danger is present and a crime suspect is not on-scene. The service is open to anyone 17 years old or older with a valid email address; others can contact either 311 or 512-974-2000.
The new system accepts reports, including:
• Minor assaults, excluding domestic violence;
• Threats, excluding domestic violence;
• Burglaries, not involving fires or arson;
• Theft, excluding vehicles and license plates, firearms, explosives, or prescriptions;
• Lost or missing property, excluding vehicle license plates, firearms or prescriptions;
• Damaged property and graffiti;
• Counterfeiting and forgery;
• Identity theft;
• Illegal credit or debit card use;
• Noncriminal child custody issues;
• Trespassing; and
• Shoplifting reports.
The reporting service is accessible in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, French, Arabic, Hindi, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and more.
The nonemergency reporting program was launched through a partnership between the APD and the records management software company Versaterm Public Safety. Versaterm provides services to the APD through a five-year, $2.4 million contract approved in September 2021.
APD officials said there are plans to expand use of Versaterm's Case Service system after the first phase of the new system's rollout.