“The creation of Crime Stoppers ranks with some of the important innovations in crime fighting. It’s as important as fingerprinting, car-to-car radios and DNA testing.” — Judge Richard Carter, Crime Stoppers USA.
Thursday, September 8th is an important date to every local crime stoppers program across the country and in the U. S. Territories. It marks the 40th anniversary of the first Crime Stoppers case to be presented in the media.
The Crime Stoppers concept started in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Someone robbed a Phillips 66 station in a well-traveled, well-lit area of town and shot a teen during the robbery. The incident took place on a Friday night. Police were left with no clues, even after weeks of investigation. No eye witnesses were able to give useful information.
Any time there is a crime committed, someone knows what happened. Sometimes they just don’t realize every detail they know until the incident is brought to mind. There were two likely reasons why no one was stepping forward. Either people who knew something and were afraid for their own physical safety from those involved, or they didn’t care or didn’t want to get involved.
Albuquerque detective, Greg MacAleese decided there was a way to help overcome the problem of fear – if they were offered anonymity. He also added the incentive of a cash reward.
Police could not offer rewards for anonymous information, so they needed a local community board that could raise the money and pay the rewards. The Albuquerque community stepped up.
MacAleese needed a way to get his message out. He got help from the media in the form of the first Crime Stoppers reenactment of a crime. It was a detailed account of the crime and stressed the guarantee of anonymity and the cash reward of $1,000. A call received by the program resulted in the arrest of three men, within 72 hours, who had been involved in the homicide of the young college student that had occurred 4 months earlier.
Word spread quickly regarding this incident and soon there were other U.S. programs. The umbrella organization, Crime Stoppers U.S.A. was formed to provide training in best practices to members of the local non-profit boards and to the law-enforcement coordinators that work them.
Co-Founder of Crime Stoppers, retired judge, Richard Carter recently told a Law Enforcement Appreciation Night audience that the creation of Crime Stoppers ranks with some of the important innovations in crime fighting. It’s as important as fingerprinting, car-to-car radios and DNA testing. He says it’s that important and has stood the test of time.
Today, community and student Crime Stoppers programs reach around the world and are represented by the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America, Europe, Australia, and the South/Western Pacific.
The Crime Stoppers program has enjoyed great success with the information received which has led to the arrest and indictment of those responsible for committing felony offenses, boasting an average conviction rate of approximately 95% on cases solved by a tip to the program.
Crime Stoppers is a partnership between the Community, the Media and Law Enforcement. Each local crime stoppers program is its own 501c3 non-profit corporation, governed by a local board of directors operating under their own by-laws. Crime stoppers guarantee of anonymity is protected by statute by most states and has been tested at the Federal level all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Thanks to the members of every Crime Stoppers board for the last 40 years.
Local Crime Stoppers programs are non-profit organizations led by citizens against crime. Some Crime Stoppers programs offer cash rewards of up to $1000 to persons providing anonymous information that leads to the felony arrest of criminals and fugitives. Information is received through anonymous Crime Stoppers tips that are received through a secure tips line or through a secure web connection manned by a professional program coordinator. Each caller is assigned a code number for the purpose of ensuring anonymity.