Put simply it is a three part approach to solving the crime problem. Ventura County 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 Crime Stoppers bilingual call center. Caller ID is not activated and conversations are not recorded. The call taker completes the tips information form and passes the information to the program coordinator. The coordinator evaluates the information and forwards it to the appropriate agency. This all takes place within the span of minutes.
All tips are relayed electronically in encrypted format that can be opened on a BlackBerry 365/24/7.
By guaranteeing a caller's anonymity, Crime Stoppers allows the caller to give information in a positive atmosphere without the prospect of retribution. By offering cash rewards for information leading to indictment or arrests, the program encourages otherwise reluctant callers to provide information.
The Online WebTip
Tipsters now have the option of giving us tips online and by a cell phone app. The processes are completely secure and anonymous and are a very effective and efficient means of safely communicating with us in today's world. Our WebTips and app are powered by the world's leading online tip solution provider, Anderson Software.
The very unique integrated Two-Way Dialog capabilities 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. All tips, whether from the telephone, web or app, are forwarded to the appropriate agency within minutes.
Receiving Rewards Anonymously
Upon providing a tip, whether by phone, web or app, the tipster is given a tip number which is to be used like a PIN both in the follow-up and reward collection process.
If the tip, as forwarded to law enforcement by Crime Stoppers, brings about an arrest or indictment, a reward may be authorized by the Board of Directors. Upon follow-up to the call center or a message via web or app, the caller will be instructed to pick up his/her reward at a specific bank or other location. The caller will provide the designated teller or contact with the tip number only. In no case will identification be required. The reward may be collected at any time.
This way Crimestoppers continues to protect your anonymity.
Structure and Funding of Crime Stoppers
Crime Stopper Programs are organized as a not for profit organization (Charity). A civilian board of directors provides direction as to the financial and promotional activities of the program. The board of directors enhances the community involvement aspect, and its function is vital to the programs success.
The Ventura County 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.
The board of directors meets on a monthly basis with law enforcement to evaluate arrests and to decide on the size of rewards to be paid, up to $1,000. Rewards are then distributed in a private manner to the tipsters. Tipsters are eligible for rewards up to $1,000, but, despite this, many choose not to collect their rewards.
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, drugs, firearms, burglaries, thefts, insurance fraud, forgeries, elder abuse and more.
The success of a Crime Stoppers program cannot be purely judged on statistics. Benefits include:
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.