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Some 911 calls shifting to 311, Web

The Daley administration is preparing to launch a dramatic change in 911 dispatching.

It’s aimed at freeing up police officers to respond to the most serious crimes by diverting lower priority calls to 311 or convincing crime victims to file their reports online.

Already, several hundred people have reported non-emergency incidents online on the Chicago Police Department’s website.

In the coming weeks, victims who call 911 about thefts of property under $500 or lost property will be encouraged to file their reports online. Those who refuse will be urged to call 311 to file their reports by phone.

Callers could still ask for an officer to respond, but higher-priority calls will be answered first.

The change will free up officers for more important calls amid a severe manpower shortage, officials say.

Chicago’s 911 emergency center gets roughly 5.7 million calls each year. Police officials have said Chicago sends officers to almost 70 percent of calls that are received, compared to about 30 percent in other major cities.

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