Social Circle accident reports to be online

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Dealing with the aftermath of a car crash can be a hassle, but Social Circle has taken steps to make the process a little more convenient.

Beginning in August, drivers who get into wrecks in Social Circle will soon be able to access their accident reports online.

The City Council this month approved entering into a revenue sharing agreement with Open Portal Solutions, a data management company that offers a number of online reporting services, including BuyCrash.com.

Currently, people who are involved in car wrecks in Social Circle are required to come to the Police Department on East Hightower Trail days or weeks later to obtain copies of the accident report for insurance or medical purposes. This can be especially burdensome for those who do not live in Social Circle, Public Safety Director Tom Fox said.

Using Open Portal's BuyCrash.com, however, can ease that burden, he said. Fox said that parties to a car wreck could log on to the city's Public Safety Department's website where they can link to BuyCrash.com and access the accident report.

The cost for a copy of an accident report is $3. Fox said those taking advantage of the online access would pay the fee through the website. Open Portal would likely charge a bit more for its services, but Social Circle would still receive $3 per report. Accident reports would still be made available to those who prefer to pick them up in person.

Fox told the City Council that Open Portal's BuyCrash.com link on the site would be a "win-win situation."

"Providing this service would be more convenient for the customers, it would reduce foot traffic in our office and the city would get a check every quarter," Fox said.

He said BuyCrash.com is gaining in popularity and is endorsed by the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

Fox said Wednesday that he is also looking into offering other crime reports online.

He said that offering these services is just one of many ways the police department is reaching out to Social Circle residents. Each month, the police department hosts P.A.C.T. -- Police And Citizens Together -- meetings. P.A.C.T. is a community-based program designed to complement a Neighborhood Watch program, according to the city's website. The goal is to improve communications between the public and the Police Department in an effort to decrease crime in the city. The next P.A.C.T. meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 18.

"These are ideas to connect our department with the citizens to build trust and confidence and so that we can offer timely service," Fox said.