YUBA COUNTY -- The Yuba County Sheriff's Office says it held out as long as it could but will now require crime victims to make reports online rather than to a deputy.
The practice has long been required in larger urban communities but the transition for Yuba County's population is significant.
Yuba County is now known for its bedroom communities for Sacramento and Roseville, but it's always tried to keep its small community sensibilities when it comes to deputies on the beat.
“It’s been a goal of ours that if you called, you’d have a deputy show up on your doorstep," county crime analyst Leslie Carbah said.
But Yuba County has been slow to recover from the 2007 recession because of their smaller tax base. Ten years ago, there were 51 deputies on patrol in the 600-square-mile county. Now, there are 28.
Residents are now being told to report certain crimes online, don’t expect a deputy to show up.
"Petty thefts, some vandalisms, identity theft -- things that there are no leads or evidence or suspects involved," Carbah said.
That would allow deputies to respond more quickly to crimes in progress or major crimes where dangerous suspects need to be caught. Some county residents, like Jorge Tarraza, see why it’s necessary. He’s had to do the same as an Air Force administrator.
"That’s understandable, why they would want to conserve some resources and prioritize where they want to focus that effort," Tarraza said.
But others say there's nothing like talking to a deputy face to face when you need one.
Marie Espinoza's daughter told FOX40 that her mom said she was glad that deputies showed up when she was suspicious of neighbors.
"She said it’s better for them to come because we called them to come because the people in that blue house, people were coming and going," Espinoza's daughter, Stephanie Martinez, said. "And we’d have to call them and they’d come and check it out."
These days, many homeowners are taking their own precautions. Espinoza has security cameras on her house. It’s a recognition by neighbors that you never know when deputies can respond.
"Security cameras, carrying their own firearms, whatever. I mean they have their right. It’s their house, their property, so why not protect it?" Barraza said.
Even if deputies can’t show up, the department says it’s still important to file crime reports online.
"We still review those just like we review in-house reports written by deputies," Carbah said. "So they will be monitored for any crime trends or patterns that may be occurring."