A file image of the Winnipeg Police Service taken on Dec. 24, 2019. (Source: CTV News Winnipeg)

A virtual crime-fighting tool in Winnipeg is improving wait times and could save money.

Last year the Winnipeg Police Service did a three-month pilot project known as the Virtual Police Response or VPR.

Instead of officers physically showing up for a break and enter, homeowners take them on a virtual tour of the crime scene.

A new city report says of the 169 calls handled this way, dispatch times were reduced from 114 hours on average to 13.9 hours. The time to process a crime scene also fell from two hours on average to just over half an hour.

The report says estimates show if all eligible B&E’s were done this way the police service could save between $123,748 to $173,248.

The report also says feedback illustrated a 96% satisfaction rate with the virtual program.

“...the WPS has deployed the VPR in operations with the intent of processing all VPR eligible B&E events with VPR, and is actively exploring the use...in other WPS service areas.” states the report.”

But the trial found the number of forensic dispatch requests was unchanged.

It also found earlier responses had no impact on curbing crime scene contaminations.