Crime Stoppers or Crimestoppers may be a program separate from the emergency telephone number system, that allows a member of the community to provide anonymous information about criminal activity. It thereby allows the person to provide crime solving assistance to the authorities without being directly involved in the investigation process. That person could also be eligible for a reward if the reported information results in an arrest. Crime Stopper programs are operated in many communities worldwide. Crime Stoppers USA.
The authorities, especially the police, cannot solve many crimes on their own. Forensic science and investigative skills are vital, along with information from the public. Crime Stoppers recognises that someone other than criminals may have information about crime, and was developed to combat the public's fear of reprisals, public apathy, and a reluctance to get involved. The program provides anonymity (callers are given a code number instead of being asked for their name and calls are not traced or recorded) and pays rewards when their information leads to an arrest and/or conviction.
Crime Stoppers first began in Albuquerque, New Mexico during July 1975, which saw the fatal shooting of Michael Carmen while he was working one night at a local filling station. After two weeks the police had no information when out of desperation Detective Greg MacAleese approached the local television station requesting a reconstruction of the crime. The re-enactment offered US$ 1,000.00 for information leading to the arrest of the killers.
Within 72 hours, a person called in identifying a car leaving the scene at high speed and he had noted its registration. The person calling said that he did not want to get involved so he had not called earlier. Detective MacAleese then realized that fear and apathy were the primary reasons why the public tended not to get involved. So he helped design a system where the public could anonymously provide details of the events. This system focused on stimulating community involvement and participation, taking advantage of every possible media opportunity, especially electronic media, to publicise unsolved crimes; and offering cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and/or conviction.
Since its first chapter was officially formed in Albuquerque in 1976, Crime Stoppers in the United States has been responsible for more than half a million arrests and more than US$4 billion in recovered property.
See also 
- Crime Stoppers USA
- Neighborhood watch
- Block Parent Program (Canada)
- Crimestoppers UK
- Crime Stoppers Australia
- "Crime Stoppers USA - Welcome". Crime Stoppers USA. Crime Stoppers USA. February 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-19.