Police testing online reporting tool; is it hampering crime solving?

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PHOENIX -- A Phoenix woman said her purse was stolen out of her shopping cart and now she’s warning other shoppers.

“They're going to have a hard time grabbing it,” said Nancy Vance.

Vance has good reason to now secure her purse in her grocery cart with the baby seat strap.

“It wasn't two seconds and my purse was out of the basket,” said Vance.

It's been five days since someone stole Vance’s purse from the Basha' Grocery Store at 48th Street and Warner Road in Phoenix.

The thieves went on a shopping spree with her credit cards.

“I actually went over to the place where they used my cards and asked them if they had the cashiers on video tape and they said yes, but they only will release it to police,” said Vance.

Vance also filed a police report online.  

So far she hasn't heard back from an investigator and fears the suspects could be long gone.

“The police don't seem to have much of interest in this,” said Vance. 

The Phoenix Police Department has been testing out a new online crime reporting tool since January.

So far more than 3,000 people have filed online reports, which is at least 200 people per week.

“Online is cold.  We understand that,” said Officer James Holmes of the Phoenix Police Department.

Holmes admits the process can be frustrating, but their new tool is actually meant to speed things up.

“The idea is we have to ask our residents to be patient with us,” said Holmes.

The reason for the delays could be human error.

Holmes said some people aren't following directions and their report is kicked back to them.

“It's just incredibly busy.  We have too many of these priority three crimes in the Valley and we will get to them when they can,” Holmes said.

Under the new system it usually takes about a week to hear from an officer. 

In the meantime, Vance is missing the old-fashioned face-to-face contact.

She would also like her wallet back with her family photos.  

Victim's can still call and request an officer to the scene of a petty crime, however the victim could end up waiting several hours

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the number of online reports filed with the new system.