The Greensboro Police Department (GPD) is going to be using robots to assist victims of burglary.
Well, not robots exactly but chatbots – something like Siri or Alexa but programmed to help victims of burglary know what to do – and the communication is by typing out questions on the website, not by shouting out, “Hey Siri.”
The GPD is participating in a pilot project developed by RTI International that offers support for burglary victims through an automated conversational assistant or chatbot.
The RTI chatbot, called the Enhanced Virtual Victim Assistant (EVVA), is designed to improve the ability of law enforcement to respond to victims and refer them to community-based support and services without an additional drain on limited police resources.
According to the Bureau of Justice statistics, currently fewer than 5 percent of burglary victims receive assistance.
In addition to connecting burglary victims to resources and support, EVVA will advise burglary victims on what to expect after a burglary occurs and steps to take to secure their residence and personal items, to lessen the chance of it happening again.
EVVA will also provide links to GPD phone numbers and email addresses.
Chatbots are currently being used across a wide range of industries including banking, retail, healthcare and government to enhance customer service.
The topics EVVA lists that it can provide help with include:
- Steps to making your home safe after a break-in
- Your rights as a renter
- Reporting information about who broke into your home
- What to expect with burglary investigations
- Navigating the department
- Filing an insurance claim
- Replacing stolen documents
- Finding and replacing stolen items
- Common responses to burglary and counseling options
- Information about talking to children about what happened
- Other options for getting help
There is also a “Victim Toolkit” tab on the EVVA home page that provides more information on what to do after a burglary.