Would you want to be a detective? Watching a crime show or a re-enactment of a real-life robbery or murder makes it look pretty simple to figure out who the bad guy is. But in the real world, it isn’t so easy. It takes a village to bring about justice after a crime is committed. Law enforcement personnel depend on the public to give them information that leads to solving the puzzle.
January is National Crime Stoppers Month. Crime Stoppers began in 1976. Albuquerque, New Mexico was a city with one of the highest per capita crime rates in the country. Citizens were afraid to get involved. But a gas station robbery/murder, and a Police Detective named Greg MacAleese changed things in that city. A young college student was working an extra shift at a gas station, in order to give his co-worker a night off. During this shift, there was an armed robbery and the soon-to-be married student lost his life. There were no witnesses to the shooting. Detective MacAleese knew he would need public involvement to help him and others find the killers. Having previously worked for a newspaper, he felt it would take something original to persuade citizens to get involved. He had a video re-enactment of the crime produced, promised anonymity and a reward (his own money) to those who called in.
The re-enactment of the crime worked – it triggered the memory of a man who had passed by the station and recalled hearing a loud bang and seeing a car taking off. He recognized the car and told police that the person who owned it lived in a nearby apartment complex. Detective MacAleese and other detectives arrested two men within 72 hours and charged them with the murder, as well as other previous armed robberies.
The first Crime Stoppers program was started by the Albuquerque Police Department soon after. Since adopting this program, Albuquerque’s crime rate has dropped significantly. It is no longer among the 20 cities with the highest per capital crime rate. Detective MacAleese was named one of the persons in the 70’s that changed the country, and received the U.S. Police Officer of the Year Award.
Crime Stoppers is not a law enforcement agency. They encourage you to contact your local law enforcement agency or local Crime Stoppers program with information that can lead to the arrest of someone you suspect has committed a crime. Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, Crime Stoppers programs are located in the U.S., Europe, South Africa, Canada, United Kingdom, Central America and many Pacific and Caribbean nations.
The objective of the group is worldwide grassroots gathering of information, with the guarantee of anonymity to anyone who can assist law enforcement agencies. In the United States alone, Crime Stoppers programs have been responsible for taking millions of tips that have led to nearly 514,000 felony arrests, and the recovery of almost $4 billion in stolen property and drugs. Their impact across America is amazing.
Recently, Crime Stoppers has been asking the public for assistance in preventing crime during the Winter Olympic Games in British Columbia, Canada, slated for February. The Canadian government is working diligently to keep everyone: athletes, trainers, staff, and the public safe.
If you have any relevant information, call Games 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or text keyword “BCTIP” to 274637 crimes, or go to website: www.solvecrime.ca.
We commend Crime Stoppers for the success this program has had worldwide. They have brought the importance of crime prevention to the forefront, followed by news media and programs such as “America’s Most Wanted” that ask for the public’s help in apprehending criminals. Now it’s time we do our part to help keep our world safer. Instead of being an “armchair detective” at home, we must pay closer attention to what’s happening in our neighborhoods. If you haven’t considered joining your local Crime Stoppers program, think about it. It’s time to get involved!
Source: Crime Stoppers International