How CrimeStoppers Keeps Tips Anonymous - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/04/05

How CrimeStoppers Keeps Tips Anonymous

We're getting some answers to Savannah's crime problem from the experts. We know CrimeStoppers is  anonymous, but some still worry the criminals might find out who they are. It can be scary to speak out about crime. But here's an inside look at the program, and how they keep you--and your tips--top secret.

Chances are you've seen a crime scene on television or you've seen one first hand. And chances are somebody somewhere knows something and isn't talking.

"They don't understand that when you call in, there's no fear of reprisals, retaliation and intimidation because they don't know who's calling," said CrimeStoppers director Demery Bishop.

According to Bishop, people still don't believe CrimeStoppers' anonymous tip line is actually anonymous. "In today's world of technology, they don't really believe we don't have caller ID, we're not recording calls."

If you still don't think you're identity will kept a secret, here's how CrimeStoppers works. First you have to call the hotline number, 234.2020. "Once that call comes in, we will take all the information you got and ask that you give us a code number," said Bishop.

After you give a four- to five-digit number code--no letters--make sure you remember it. "We don't have any way to contact the caller, so the caller has to call back to check on the status of their tip, or they call back to find out if a person has been arrested," explained Bishop. "If the person has been arrested, are they due a reward?"

Once your tip leads to an arrest, you take the code number you gave CrimeStoppers. They'll send you to any one of the financial institutions they use, you pick up your cash reward. No questions asked, no paper trail.

Still don't think it works? It does.

According to Bishop, criminals turn in other criminals all the time with out any repercussions. "One drug guy's going to call in on another, or some body's involved and they brag about a particular crime, somebody else hears that, they call CrimeStoppers with that. We don't care, we don't know who you are, we could care less."

If you know anything about a crime--or if you'd like to help with reward money--call CrimeStoppers at 234.2020.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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