What is Crime Stoppers?
Crime Stoppers is a non-profit organization that takes calls from people who want to report a crime and wish to remain totally anonymous. Crime Stoppers is one way that citizens can assist law enforcement by providing information and never having to identify themselves or testify in court.
What type of calls does Crime Stoppers take?
Crime Stoppers takes tips about crimes that have already been committed or are about to occur for example: stolen property, narcotics, or any other criminal activity.
If you aren't sure that what you saw or heard is really a crime, call anyway. Let law enforcement decide if it's worth investigating. It may be a piece of a puzzle to help solve a big crime.
What if the caller is the victim?
If the caller is a victim, they must report the crime to the police or a “Victim Services” program. A victim cannot report a crime to Crime Stoppers because they would be identified by the information and therefore lose their anonymity.
How does Crime Stoppers work?
Crime Stoppers can take your anonymous information three ways:
to our trained information takers at 1-800-222-8477
your information into our secure on-line tip submit form at : www.calgarycrimestoppers.org
us your information by sending the keyword ttttips to 274637 (click here for information on how to submit your information via SMS text messaging)
Your anonymous information is then passed along to the investigators at the appropriate law enforcement agency. The “TIPSTER" (that's you) is never identified but is assigned a code number. The tip is investigated. The police will inform Crime Stoppers on how the case is progressing so it is important for the TIPSTER to call back for an update on the case during regular business hours (a number will be provided for you to call back).
What happens to my information after I provide it?
After you give us your information, we create a report that brings together all the information you provided. Our trained information takers will check to make sure that the report contains no information that might identify you.
The report is sent to the relevant law enforcement agency who will investigate the information. They have the legal responsibility to investigate the information prior to acting on it to ensure the information is correct and not given to us maliciously in order to set someone up.
It may take some time before the police act on the information you have given. There could be many reasons for that; the information may be part of a larger investigation and visible action might be delayed for some time or the information may remain on file to be used at a later time. Even if your information appears not to have been used or if you don’t see a quick resolution, don’t think your information was not useful.
Feel free to call back at any time to add or update information or to just check on the status of your tip. Make sure you give your personal code when you call; otherwise Crime Stoppers will not give you any information about your tip.
Does Crime Stoppers have call display or call trace on their telephones or have access to my IP address?
Crime Stoppers does not have call display or call trace on any of its telephones nor do we record any calls and your IP address is not available to us. That would be in direct contradiction to one of the cornerstones of the Crime Stoppers program - anonymity. Crime Stoppers guarantees that you will remain anonymous no matter how you provide us your information. If we subscribed to call display or call trace that guarantee of anonymity would be gone and the program would suffer serious consequences.
Is Crime Stoppers run by the police?
Crime Stoppers is not run by the police. We are separate and apart from any Law Enforcement Agency.
Crime Stoppers is a non-profit, charitable program run by volunteers from the community. The individuals who have given their time to sit on local committees or the Board of Directors cannot be employed by any law enforcement agency.
All the money raised for Crime Stoppers comes through donations or fund raising. Police agencies provide no financial support to Crime Stoppers, although they do designate a member of their service to act as a coordinator.
How can you guarantee anonymity?
Crime Stoppers can offer anonymity to its callers because of a legal rule of evidence, which says police do not have to reveal information which might identify a person who supplies them with information concerning criminal activity. In February of 1997 the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided that callers to Crime Stoppers programs were entitled to the protection of this privilege. In a typical case which started from a Crime Stoppers tip, the identity of the informer is unknown to both the Crime Stoppers Coordinator who took the call or on line tip and the case investigator. The Supreme Court went on to confirm that the privilege is so broad in scope it prevents disclosure not only of the name of the informer (even if it were it to be known) but also of any information which might implicitly reveal his or her identity. This is the premise behind the claim that "Crime Stoppers guarantees the tipsters anonymity."
How do I collect my reward?
If the information is good and law enforcement uses the information to help solve a crime, you may be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.00. A reward must be recommended and approved by the Board of Directors of Crime Stoppers. Once the reward is approved, arrangements are made for the caller to pick up their cash reward in a way that is secure.
Q – What are the various components of a text message used in the tip submission process to Crime Stoppers?
There are three main parts to a text message.
1) The Short Code:– This is the actual number the tip is sent to rather than a 7 digit phone number. It is 274637.
2) The Keyword: – Keywords are always used with Common Short Codes to allow for proper routing. These are used to ensure that the tip is directed to the right area. When a keyword is needed, it is always entered as the first word in the body of the message. A tipster only needs to include the keyword on our SMS tips the very first time they submit a tip. After that, the system is intelligent enough to know where to route all subsequent traffic from that device.
3) The Message Body: This section contains the keyword initially, and then the actual text of the message.
For Example: ttttips: I know about a marijuana grow operation at 123 main street.
Q – So how does the process actually work? What are the steps, etc?
1. A tipster sends his or her first message, which is encrypted and includes the keyword. For Calgary Crime Stoppers, they text "ttttips" plus their message to 274637. Crime Stoppers then responds with a confirmation and a unique code number.
2. The tipster may then respond back to Crime Stoppers message simply by replying. No keyword or area ID or any other identifier is needed for any subsequent replies. Newly initiated messages by the tipster that are not straight replies to Crime Stoppers may simply be sent to 274637, with no keyword needed.
Q – What types of things can I report?
We encourage tipsters to report information about any crime or criminal activity. Your information may be a critical piece of an investigation, all information received by Crime Stoppers is provided to law enforcement for their consideration.
Q – Can I attach a picture?
No, the Crime Stoppers text-message program only accepts text, and is not equipped to receive Multimedia Messages (MMS) of any kind (photo or sound clips).
Q – I hear that special jargon is sometimes used in text messages. How will we decipher it?
A – Yes, texters often abbreviate words and phrases with a language of their own. Like LOL for "laugh out loud" or BRB for "be right back". It is not that difficult to pick up on.
Q – Is there any cost for this service?
No, there is no premium cost for this service. Standard text messaging rates apply for messages sent and received (if applicable). These rates can be confirmed with your service provider.
Q – How do I know that Crime Stoppers will not know who I am?
Crime Stoppers goes to great lengths to protect the anonymity of its tipsters. Tips received via text message are routed and encrypted through many secure servers. The tipster's information is always aliased and given a unique ID before being sent to Crime Stoppers.
Q – Can I receive a monetary reward for my tips? How does this work?
All tips qualify for a monetary award if they lead to an arrest, the recovery of stolen property or the seizure of illegal drugs. When a tip is given to Crime Stoppers, the tipster is provided with a unique, confidential code number and/or word to check back with Crime Stoppers about the status of the tip. Tipsters will not be required to give his or her name or identify themselves if a reward is due.
Q – What if someone tips from my phone?
If someone tips from your phone, keep in mind that the tip will be completely confidential. Text tips are processed through an encrypted server and the Crime Stoppers Program will not be able to know where the call originated or whose phone was utilized.
To view a demonstration of How to Text Tip please go to: smscrimetips.com