Friday, October 25, 2013

It may not be glamorous but crime tips lines are important

There was an interesting piece over at The New York Times that looked at the role NYPD's anonymous tips line plays in solving crimes. The piece looks at how the tips line was crucial to solving the 20+ year old "Baby Hope" case.
At a time when police officers and prosecutors can often tap an array of forensic evidence — DNA, phone records and surveillance footage — the anonymous tip seems like a throwback to an earlier era of crime solving, a relic from the days when a New Yorker could still find a working pay phone and place a call for 10 cents. (The expression “drop a dime” became slang for informing on someone to the police.)
Via The New York Times
At the agency where I work, we have a Crime Stoppers program that allows people to submit tips anonymously. They can call, text or submit tips online anonymously. If these tips lead to an arrest, persons can receive a cash reward. Many times, people don't want the reward. We've had really good success with our program.

In the bit I quoted above they alluded to how archaic a tips line seems compared to high tech evidence such as DNA or video. But the reality is, most crimes are solved the old fashioned way with gumshoe police work. DNA can help you get a conviction but it often does little good without a name to go with it.

Does your agency have a crime tips line? Has it been successful?

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