“The most important message that we want to convey to our community is that we want to help empower our communities by involving themselves with keeping our neighborhoods, where they work, where they live, and where their children play safe,” said Nicolle Rosecrans the emergency manager for Rio Grande County about the local Crime Stoppers program.
Crime Stoppers has been an effective crime deterrent ever since it started more than 30 years ago in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The concept for the program is based on the idea that someone, other than the criminal, has information that can solve or prevent a crime. Crime Stoppers enlists the help of local concerned citizens and then pays them for their help. They ask that everyone in the San Luis Valley community get involved in fighting crime by giving confidential leads and information. These tips help local law enforcement to bring criminals to justice and keep communities safer.
“Operating on the proven theory that the community has thousands of vigilant eyes and ears, lawbreakers and felons receive a stern message that crime will not be tolerated in the San Luis Valley. Our communities become a much safer place for ourselves and future generations,” said Rosecrans. Rosecrans went on to explain that often citizens do not contact the police with information that could help solve a crime because of fear. Many people have the valid fear of exposing their identity and opening themselves up to acts of retaliation by criminals. Crime Stoppers assures that citizens with information will be given complete anonymity.
In other cases, citizens may not come forward with information because they do not know how or whom to contact in the police organization. “Once these citizens work up the courage to contact the police, they must be assured that whoever they talk to will be interested and respond to whatever information they relay. Otherwise, these citizens may call in once with information but will not call a second time if they are shuffled and transferred from one person to another,” stated Rosecrans.
Crime Stoppers provides a way of overcoming these limitations and involving citizens in ending crime. Today community Crime Stoppers programs have a global impact and are represented by the Nations/Regions of the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Australia and the South/Western Pacific.
According to Crime Stoppers USA, the program has enjoyed great success. The information they have received has led to the arrest and indictment of those responsible for committing felony offenses. Boasting an average conviction rate of approximately 95 percent on cases solved by a tip to the program.
In the San Luis Valley, the Crime Stoppers tip line receives 12 to 30 calls on average per year. With tips leading to a successful arrest or prevention of crime within multiple law enforcement jurisdictions and communities.
“We want everyone, both young and old, in every community we serve to feel comfortable and safe, in that they can pick up the phone and dial (719) 589-4111, knowing that their information being provided will be forwarded to the appropriate police agency with anonymity and safety. We are the eyes and ears of our community and it will take a commitment from us as a community, to be willing to be a part of the solution and not the problems,” said Rosecrans.
The most critical element of Crime Stoppers is the Crime Report Tips Line at (719) 589-4111. People with any information about any past, present, or future crime are encouraged to call the confidential tip line. Crime Stoppers maintains a discrete and highly-secure procedure, and the information is passed along to the appropriate law enforcement agency without identifying the caller in any way. If the tip leads to an arrest, or recovery of property, the caller may receive a reward of up to $1,000.