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 call taker takes your information and passes it on to the investigating officer. Calls are accepted regarding any publicized request for information, such as "Wanted Suspects" or such other felony 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 retaliation. By offering cash rewards for information leading to a felony arrest, the program encourages otherwise reluctant callers to provide information.
Many tipsters have a personal connection with those they are turning in. From time to time, during the course of an investigation, a detective may unknowingly contact the tipster. You have no obligation to identify yourself as a Crime Stoppers tipster to police. If you do, your anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
Members of law enforcement or those affiliated with law enforcement (such as bail bondsmen, court service officers, or bounty hunters, loss prevention, etc.) are not eligible for Crime Stoppers rewards. The Crime Stopper program was designed to allow the ordinary citizen a safe means to provide law enforcement information, indirectly, without fear of retaliation and with the promise of anonymity.
The Online WebTip
Tipsters also have the option of giving us tips online. The process is completely secure and anonymous and is a very effective and efficient means of safely communicating with us in today's world. Our WebTip process is powered by the world's leading online tip solution provider, Anderson Software.
The very unique integrated Two-Way Dialog capabilties allow the tipster to come back and provide additional information to their tip at any time, but also provides a secure means for the coordinator to ask questions or provide reward information back to the tipster through the same secure and encrypted interface.
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 authorize rewards 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.
***Tipsters must claim their rewards within a three-year time frame. After that time, the reward money is considered unclaimed and forfeited back to the program and can no longer be considered for distribution*** (AS 09.10.040)
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.