Put simply it is a three part approach to solving the crime problem. Crime Stoppers relies on cooperation between the police, the media, and the general community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals.
The Phone Call
Calls are received at the local Crime Stoppers tips line phone. This phone is a stand alone instrument which does not provide caller ID, and conversations are not recorded. The Crime Stoppers police or civilian Coordinator receiving the information completes the tips information form, makes initial inquiries and then passes the information to the investigating officer. Calls are accepted regarding any publicized request for information, such as "Crime of the Week" or such other crime(s) the caller has knowledge of.
By guaranteeing a caller's anonymity Crime Stoppers allows the caller to give information in a positive atmosphere without the prospect of retribution. By offering cash rewards for information leading to indictment or arrests, the program encourages otherwise reluctant callers to provide information.
Structure and Funding of Crime Stoppers
The Crime Stoppers program is funded by private donations and fund raising. NO TAX DOLLARS are involved. The reward money paid out by the program is from the fund raising and donations from concerned citizens and businesses.
A community board of directors, made up of persons from throughout the area, meets on a monthly basis to evaluate arrests and to decide on the size of rewards to be paid, up to $1,000. Rewards are then distributed in a private manner to the callers. Callers are eligible for rewards up to $1,000, but, despite this, many callers choose not to collect their rewards.
Does Crime Stoppers Work?
The answer is quite simply yes. Since the start of Crime Stoppers, many calls have been received resulting in thousands of arrests and recovery of substantial amounts of property. Calls have included information about murder, robbery, rape, assaults, drug and firearm offenses.
The success of a Crime Stoppers program cannot be purely judged on statistics, however, other benefits have come to notice:
Crime Stoppers is definitely here to stay. It has been accepted by police as a valid and effective investigative tool and the public, through its overwhelming response, appears to have accepted it as a more palatable alternative to traditional methods of giving information.