By Andrea Grymes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NYPD has made things easier for people to report complaints.

The department said Wednesday the public can now file them on the NYPD website, instead of in-person at a precinct, which could take hours.

“Instead of schlepping into a department facility to do that, you now have the convenience of doing some of that stuff from home,” NYPD IT Bureau Deputy Commissioner Matthew Fraser told CBS2’s Andrea Grymes.

The low-level offenses the public can report include lost property, petit larceny, and misdemeanor criminal mischief and graffiti.

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Police say those categories make up some 143,000 complaints per year — or more than 20% of all.

“Those are some of the lower-level complaints that come in, right, the easiest that would be able to be handled online,” Deputy Commissioner of Strategic Initiatives Danielle Pemberton said.

Here’s how it works: The complaint will be reviewed at the precinct level. Once it is reported, the person who filed it will receive an email confirmation. The NYPD said the digital dialogue will continue in short order and then a follow-up email will be sent, including an official complaint report number. If more information is need, the police will again make contact.

The NYPD said the new system is an effort to streamline the process and make it easier for the public.

“This is another step forward into modern, 21st Century policing,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement. “This tool, and others like it, are part of our continuing work to keep people safe and improve the quality of life for millions of New Yorkers. Our NYPD online reporting service will increase transparency and improve accountability to the people we serve. And it will make police services more easily accessible.”

NYPD officials said they are looking to see if they can expand the category list so people can report even more online, but they stress this is not a replacement for calling 911 in case of emergencies.

Andrea Grymes