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Greensboro Police launch 'Chatbot' program to help victims of home burglaries

Greensboro police said burglaries don't always get the same follow-up as violent crime investigations. The 'Chatbot' will help with that.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — The Greensboro Police Department (GPD) has launched a pilot program to help victims of home burglary with different resources after a crime is committed. 

The pilot project is a partnership with RTI International, a non-profit research institute that developed the EVVA. The Enhanced Virtual Victim Assistant (EVVA) is an automated "chatbot" where users can go to the website and get help with different questions related to their case. It's available 24/7.

EVVA allows victims to get burglary questions answered 24/7

Greensboro Assistant Police Chief John Thompson said it's comparable to what the Department of Motor Vehicles uses for getting a replacement license or renewing your registration online. 

"There’s a lot of information that we pass along to victims and then after the fact, after we’ve gone out, we’ve handled the report and done the initial response, there’s a lot of information, (they have) a lot of questions," Thompson said.

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According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, fewer than 5% of burglary victims receive assistance. Thompson said he hopes the program will give victims some ease and allow them easier access to resources. EVVA will also advise burglary victims on what to expect when a burglary occurs, steps to take to secure their home and personal items, and police department information.

'Victim satisfaction improves with police communication'

"Historically, residential burglary victims do not see the same follow-up that other victims of more significant crime, like violent crime, would. Residential burglary is seen as a property crime," said GPS Assistant Chief John Thompson. "I know how intrusive that can feel when somebody breaks into your home. There are some safety and security that is violated."

Another aspect of the project is allowing the department to respond to residential burglary without there being a significant drain on department resources as law enforcement continues to struggle with staffing and retention. 

“This innovative partnership between RTI and the Greensboro Police Department will lead to a reduction in the administrative workload for detectives while improving the efficiency of victim assistance,” said Lynn Langton, Ph.D with RTI in a news release. "Evidence suggests that victim satisfaction, especially in the case of burglary, improves with enhanced police communication.”

Credit: WFMY
Greensboro police launch 'Chatbot' for home burglary victims.

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