Crime Stoppers is a partnership between the Community, the Media, and the Law Enforcement, whose mandate is to “Work Together to Solve and Prevent Crime”.
The program is a community based, non-profit registered corporation, managed by a civilian volunteer board of directors. It is a crime information collection operation, which enables anyone with information about a crime, and who wishes to remain anonymous, to pass that information on to law enforcement through a neutral organization. The program works because of its unique partnership between the public, the media and law enforcement, working together to resolve community problems through the apprehension of criminals and prevention of crime. It is an effective partnership because everyone shares an equal role in solving crime.
All effective law enforcement programs require the concern, active participation, and cooperation of the citizenry to succeed. No matter how well organized, equipped, energetic, or highly motivated a law enforcement agency may be, it can not function effectively without the cooperation and involvement of its community.
Through the Crime Stoppers program, citizens become aware of the real impact of crime on the community and are continually encouraged to come forward with information that might aid in the solution of crimes. When people are motivated, for whatever reason, to assist police, their effectiveness increases while the opportunity for the criminal to escape detection decreases.
In many cases, citizens do not come forward with information for fear of reprisal from the criminal and are consequently fearful of revealing their own true identity. Whatever the reason for this lack of involvement, it became necessary for a program or vehicle to be designed that addresses these reasons and encourages the citizen involvement. It was with this in mind that the “Crime Stoppers” program was developed.
When a criminal case is not solved within a reasonable length of time, the investigative leads diminish. The trail becomes cold, evidence becomes unobtainable, and the crime becomes increasingly more difficult to solve. For this reason, most police department files contain many unsolved cases.
When this occurs, a method is needed that will re-awaken public interest and will also call upon citizens for help in providing the needed information. Quite often, citizens witness all or part of a crime without being aware of what they have seen. Consequently, they unknowingly possess key information that could aid police in solving the crime.
In order for the police to receive this vital information, the citizens must be made aware of the importance of the information they possess. The incident must be recalled to their attention and explain what information is needed by the police to solve the crime. All too often, citizens do not contact the police with information that could help solve a crime. Due to fear, they believe if they reveal their own identity then they would expose themselves or their families to acts of retaliation by the criminal. In most of these instances these citizens will not come forward with information. In order to share information with police, they must be assured they will be provided complete anonymity. If the police fail to provide this anonymity, the result is usually the loss of vital information due to the lack of willingness to cooperate.
In other instances, citizens may not come forward with information because they lack the knowledge of how or whom to contact in the police organization. Once these citizens “work up the courage” to contact the police, they must be assured that whomever they talk to will be interested in, and respond to whatever information they relay. Otherwise, these citizens may call in once with information, but certainly will not call a second time if they are shuffled and transferred from one person or department to another.
The Crime Stopper concept provides a method of overcoming these limitations and involving citizens in the solution of crime. Through the Crime Stoppers program, citizens who have knowledge of a specific crime are encouraged either for civic or monetary reasons to come forward to police. Through this program, the public is reminded that the police need their assistance to make the community a safer place to live.
Crime Stoppers allows any citizen coming forward with information to remain completely anonymous. In this way, the citizen is assured that his identity will be protected and that any useful information relayed will be utilized.
To effectively integrate the knowledge of the public, Crime Stoppers must also receive the support of the various representatives of the media such as television, radio, and print.
The Crime Stoppers program began in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1976, in an effort to help solve a brutal murder. The idea of using a re-enactment of an unsolved crime, as well as a reward and the promise of anonymity, helped to draw valuable information from the public and gave birth to a worldwide crime fighting movement. The promise of anonymity addressed the issue of fear on the part of the tipster, while the reward brought out information from reluctant and apathetic witnesses and gave them an incentive, as well as a procedure, to provide information to law enforcement authorities.
Crime Stoppers programs operating internationally have an impressive track record. Since the start of the program in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in September, 1976, the number of programs has grown to approximately 800 in over 13 countries. These programs have collectively been responsible for:
- Solving more than 730,000 crimes
- Recovering over $1,174,000 in stolen property
- Seizing narcotics valued at more than $3,390,000
There are three levels of the Crime Stoppers program — local, a statewide organization, and Crime Stoppers International. These entities are non-profit corporations designed to promote Crime Stoppers throughout the world and assist in the coordination and exchange of information among the programs.
Do you have information regarding a crime? Call CrimeStoppers now at (270) 687-8484. You can earn up to $1,000 in reward money and you can remain anonymous. You don’t need to give your name or any information about yourself. There’s no Caller ID. You can remain completely anonymous. You’ll be given a code number, and if your information leads to an arrest, that code number gets you the reward.