Crime Stoppers is a program geared toward public involvement in the fight against crime. It provides an avenue which permits and encourages citizens to contribute to the safety of their community. Crime Stoppers is designed to achieve citizen interest and involvement utilizing two methods:
- The dramatic re-enactment of an unsolved "Crime of the Week" on television, radio and print media
- The establishment of a reward system which pays for information leading to the arrest and indictment of anyone involved in serious crimes
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.
The Crime Stopper concept provides a method involving citizens in solving crimes which has little evidence or few leads. Through the 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 provides a vehicle for the free flow of information from the public, concerning criminal activity. It also provides cash rewards to citizens for information leading to the arrest and indictment or prosecution of an offender involved in an unsolved crime.
The Crime Stoppers program is funded by public and private contributions, made up of a civilian board of directors to oversee and administer the funds, established as a non-profit corporation under Kentucky Law, and coordinates with local, state and federal law enforcement.
The Crime Stoppers objectives are:
- To furnish law enforcement agencies with information on crimes, wanted persons, and other criminal activity that they would otherwise be unable to obtain
- To motivate and promote public cooperation and involvement with law enforcement efforts and to reward such involvement
- To foster better police-community relations through increased public awareness
- To prevent many crimes before they are actually committed
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.