Since 1977, the Crime Stoppers program has been a valuable addition to the community policing initiatives in Australia.
Operating in each state and territory, the program is governed by an independent, not-for-profit corporation managed by individuals of diverse skills and common values from community, business, government and police sectors.
Crime Stoppers Australia represents the collective eight corporations on matters of national interest (and where relevant in matters affecting the Asia Pacific region), as well as holding positions on the Board of Crime Stoppers International, based in The Hague.
We recognise the value of having custody of one of the world’s most trusted brands and our Crime Stoppers promise is built on the story of working with, and giving back to communities; working around silos and across jurisdictions to create awareness of issues, share information and raise funds for campaigns and initiatives that promote a fair and safer Australia.
These relationships provide rich insights and clear expectations from the people living, working and visiting Australia and our efforts continue to be reinvested into building Australia’s reputation for safe and healthy living. That is why our work is never done.
To be relevant to the community, we provide a means to help solve and prevent crime through the provision of information from anonymous sources about crimes and criminals to law enforcement agencies.
The Crime Stoppers program is unique in each state and territory because they focus on the needs of their community. The crime campaigns and community engagement activities vary from in-school information sessions to volunteer outreach teams. Common to all jurisdictions is the Crime Stoppers website and hotline, 180 333 000.
We are active in all communities, working closely with media, corporate and communities to enhance law enforcement activities. Customers who rely on the Crime Stoppers program include:
- People living, working and visiting Australia
- Policing and law enforcement agencies
- Media content creators and distributors
- Organisations affected by crime
- Policy and law regulators
Know something, say something.
You, the citizens, form the foundation of a successful Crime Stoppers program because we rely on members of the public to contact us when they have information that may help stop, solve or prevent suspicious or criminal activity in the community.
Information providers are never asked to identify themselves and there is no mechanism in the Crime Stoppers service that records voices or traces telephone numbers.
Confidentiality is guaranteed. Members of the community who call Crime Stoppers receive a code number that allows them to claim a reward, if eligible, once an arrest has been made.
Fundraising and Rewards
Reward monies are raised and administered by the state or territory Crime Stoppers corporation who rely on the generous support of business and individuals who feel strongly about crime and safety for their community. Volunteering is also a valued way of contributing to support your local program, either by attending or even hosting fund raising events.
You have confidence knowing all monies are redirected into the community to help keep you safe.
As part of the mutual obligation between the community, the police and the media, local media outlets are encouraged to promote Crime Stoppers by publicising unsolved crimes and assisting with appeals to raise funds for the program.
Newspapers, radio and television stations in the community undertake to frequently broadcast crime stories to highlight unsolved cases. These appeals can include a video re-enactment of a crime to give the public a visual portrayal of what occurred and some ideas about the information investigators may require in order to solve an incident.
To encourage the public to be engaged and alert participants in crime fighting in their community, the media also regularly promotes the special Crime Stoppers phone number and website.
A coordinator is appointed by the Police to work with the Crime Stoppers program on a daily basis in each State or Territory with additional staff possibly involved in operating an office that takes tips on the Crime Stoppers line. The Police are required to investigate the various Crime Stoppers tips from the public and report back to the coordinator when a case is solved, who in turn report back to the local Crime Stoppers program.
Why Crime Stoppers began and why it is still so relevant today.
The Crime Stoppers concept was born out of a tragic crime that occurred in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where traditional methods of crime investigation weren’t able to solve the horrific murder.
When a young college student, Michael Carmen, was shot to death during a robbery at an Albuquerque, New Mexico gas station in July 1976, Detective Greg MacAleese had no idea who was responsible for the killing.
No witnesses came forward and it appeared the senseless and brutal shotgun slaying would remain a mystery.
MacAleese, who worked for a newspaper before joining the Albuquerque Police Department, knew something innovative would be necessary to encourage the public to get involved and help solve the murder.
He conceived the idea of producing a video re-enactment of the homicide, guaranteed anonymity for anyone who was willing to call him with information and put up a reward from his own pocket to encourage someone to provide a lead that would help identify those responsible for the murder of Carmen.
It seemed almost unnecessary to take such extraordinary steps to solve the killing of Carmen. It was a case that should have outraged the community and brought forth many witnesses.
Carmen was only two weeks away from getting married and had taken an extra shift at the gas station to give a co-worker the night off. When police responded to an emergency call they found Carmen gravely wounded. He'd been shot in the abdomen at point blank range with a 12-guage shotgun. The medical staff kept him alive for four hours and during that time he tried to tell detectives who was responsible, but he just didn't have the strength to form the words. At that time Albuquerque had one of the highest per capita crime rates in the US and people were afraid to help the police.
MacAleese’s plan to identify those responsible for killing Carmen worked. Within a few hours after the recreation of the murder was broadcast on television station KOAT, he received a phone call. The video image had triggered the memory of a person who heard a loud bang in the vicinity of the gas bar and then saw a car driving off. The caller told MacAleese the vehicle belonged to a resident in a nearby apartment complex. Through investigation MacAleese and a team of detectives arrested two men within 72 hours and charged them with the murder of Carmen and a string of armed robberies.
MacAleese received other calls following the reenactment, including one that allowed police to solve the rape of a young woman. Realising that this type of program might be useful in fighting crime, MacAleese convinced the Albuquerque Police Department to allow a group of citizens to establish the first Crime Stoppers program.
For his efforts Detective MacAleese was named one of the people in the 1970's who changed the face of the United States and was also named the country's Police officer of the Year.
Today, the Crime Stoppers program is still recognised for its ability to empower communities and support law enforcement.