What is Crime Stoppers?
Crime Stoppers began in Albuquerque, New Mexico in September 1976 and is a partnership of the community, the media and law enforcement designed to combat crime and keep our streets safe.
Today there are some 1,200 Crime Stoppers programs in communities around the world that take tips to assist investigators to solve crimes including homicides, sexual assaults, drug trafficking operations and robberies, just to name a few. Programs have also received information that has prevented school shootings and criminal acts by terrorist organizations.
Crime Stoppers programs are operated as non profit organizatons and managed by a volunteer board of directors who take the responsibility of fundraising and paying rewards to individuals who anonymously call with information that helps solve crime.
Rewards are paid for tips that lead to the arrest and indictment of people charged with felony offences and to date Crime Stoppers statistics show a conviction rate of some 95 percent.
Why Do We Need Crime Stoppers?
Crime Stoppers works, it is an extremely effective crime fighting concept that solves crime and keeps our streets safe.
Statistics show an average conviction rate of 95 percent and tips to Crime Stoppers save law enforcement agencies thousands of dollars in investigation time. Calls to Crime Stoppers assist in putting police on the right track by identifying individuals who are responsible for committing crimes.
Today there are some 1,200 Crime Stoppers programs in 20 countries, including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, Central America and the Caribbean.
On an accumulative basis since 1976, tips to Crime Stoppers have been responsible for the arrests of around 600,000 individuals and has led to the seizure of close to $7 billlion in stolen property and illegal drugs.
How does Crime Stoppers work?
There is always someone that has information that can help solve crime. Those are the people who can call Crime Stoppers anonymously and provide a tip that will help investigators identify those responsible.
In any investigation, police and other law enforcement agencies encounter individuals who will not directly provide information. The three key reasons are:
Fear of reprisal
An attitude of apathy
Reluctance to get involved.
Crime Stoppers breaks through these barriers by giving people the opportunity to provide information without directly speaking to police or having to testify in court. Obviously investigators need witnesses to help prove their case in court, but most importantly they need information that allows them to zero in on a suspect or a criminal operation such as a drug trafficking network.
Tips to Crime Stoppers does not give police evidence they require to arrest an individual but puts them on the right track to solve crime.
Cash rewards from Crime Stoppers also motivate some people to call anonymously with information that will be vital to investigators.
Three partners are essential to a Crime Stoppers program:
Citizens form the foundation of a local Crime Stoppers program. These are people who serve as volunteer directors on the Crime Stoppers board with responsibility to operate the non-profit corporation, raise funds and approve reward payments when crimes are solved. Members of the public support Crime Stoppers at public events and through other fundraising activities. And there are others who call Crime Stoppers when they have information that will solve crime.
Local media outlets have responsibility for promoting Crime Stoppers by publicizing unsolved crimes and assisting with appeals to raise funds for the program. On an ongoing basis newspapers as well as radio and television stations in the community undertake to broadcast a Crime of the Week which highlights an unsolved case. This appeal can include a video re-enactment of a crime to give the public a visual portrayal of what occurred and some ideas of the information investigators may require to solve an incident. The media also regularly promotes the special Crime Stoppers phone number.
Appoint a coordinator to operate the Crime Stoppers program on a daily basis and provide staff to maintain an office that takes tips on the Crime Stoppers line. Callers are never asked to identify themselves and there is no equipment in the office that records voices or traces telephone numbers. Anonymity is guaranteed. Those who call Crime Stoppers receive a code number that allows them to claim a reward once an arrest has been made. The police are also required to investigate the various Crime Stoppers tips and report back to the coordinator when a case is solved.