People in one East Bay city have a new way to report crime. Pinole police have launched a first-of-its-kind video reporting program, allowing people to make a face-to-face police report right from their phone.
The program, which launched Thursday, lets callers report minor crimes and suspicious activity using Skype, FaceTime Live or Facebook Messenger, taking online crime reporting to a whole new level.
"It’s a lot more personable. It’s a different type of experience," said Jennifer Witschi of the Pinole Police Department. "You get to connect more with the community, and also, instead of just talking on the phone, it’s a better way to connect with the person and be more of an assistance to them."
Teresa Serrano used the new service after getting rear-ended Thursday morning.
"The person behind me took off after rear-ending me. They just took off," Serrano reported to the police.
She was able to show the officer a live look at the minor damage to her car.
"An officer’s in front of you; you can see them, you can talk to them," Serrano said after her experience using the program. "They can see you. You don’t have to come all the way into the police department to do it."
Initially, Pinole police are offering the service two days a week during limited hours. But they hope it eventually becomes more widespread.