Operations of the Program
Initially, Crime Stoppers deals with unsolved felony crimes committed by adults and juveniles in the following areas:
- Armed Robbery
- Aggravated Assault
- Other Crimes the Board of Directors may select
In order to publicize the "Crime Stoppers" program and maintain a highly visible profile in the community, a specific unsolved crime is taken each week and a $1000 cash reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and indictment (or prosecution) of the offender. This unsolved crime is titled and referred to as "The Crime of the Week", and a dramatic re-enactment of the crime is filmed by News Channel 5 - WTVF. Sole responsibility for the selection of which crime will be portrayed as the "Crime of the Week" rests with the program coordinator for Crime Stoppers.
In addition to the film dramatization, which is shown by Channel 5 during that week, starting on the Tuesday 10 p.m. newscast, a 60-second radio summary is prepared for use by local radio stations that participate by airing the "Crime Stoppers Crime of the Week" on Tuesday and any other time during that week. Additionally, a release will be supplied each week to the Tennessean newspaper to be used on Tuesday morning for a weekly "Crime Stoppers" column.
The philosophy behind using one pre-selected date each week for television, radio and newspaper coverage of the "CRIME OF THE WEEK" is saturation. Hopefully, no one in the area will be able to go through this particular day of the week without seeing, hearing, or reading the Crime Stoppers story.
In order to be eligible for the $1000 cash reward associated with the "Crime of the Week," the citizen providing the information to Crime Stoppers must do so within seven (7) calendar days after the "Crime of the Week" is publicized by the media. The television re-enactment, radio spots and newspaper columns serve to keep the public's interest at a high level and will also help to locate the occasional "casual" witnesses who did not realize they were actually witnessing a crime.
Since the majority of the information coming into the "Crime Stoppers" program is received by telephone, a phone with an easy-to-remember number, 74-CRIME, is maintained by the police department. This telephone is answered by the assigned police investigators Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and at other times monitored by an automatic answering device, not to take information, but to give the office hours and ask the person to call back then.
When a call is received by Crime Stoppers, it is logged with the date, time and brief summary of the caller's information. If the caller wishes to give his name, address or phone number, that information is also logged. Each caller is assigned a code number from the log book and this code number is used in all subsequent transactions with this informant. If the caller wishes to remain anonymous, absolutely no pressure is placed on them to reveal their identity, since on of the key elements to the "Crime Stoppers" program is to allow the informant to remain anonymous. The officer receiving the call will then fill out the Crime Stoppers interview form setting out the information received. This information is relayed by both telephone and in writing to the supervisor and/or investigator of the investigating unit handling the case, preferably to the investigator that the case is assigned to.
The Crime Stoppers Investigator will check back with the appropriate investigating unit one week later to ascertain if the information was valid. If the information results in the arrest and indictment of the offender, then a summary of the case will be forwarded by the investigating unit to the Crime Stoppers Office. That summary is filed in the caller's file and used to prepare a reward recommendation for the board of directors who will then determine the exact amount of the reward to be paid based upon the type of case and the value of the information. When the caller checks back with the Crime Stoppers office, as they are asked to do on a regular basis, they are informed of the amount of reward that the board appropriated and asked if and when they would like to pick it up. The caller is told to call back at a certain time to be told where and at what time they can get their money. Two members of the board are contacted on where they would like to make the pay-off. When the caller calls back they are given the time, location and a physical description of the two board members. The caller is told that when they or their representative see the two people fitting the description, to ask if they are with Crime Stoppers If they say yes then to identify themselves as code number ____(code number). The board members will ask what does it have to do with and the person gives a few facts about the information they gave. The board members hand the person the reward money in cash and ask them to count it. The person is then asked to sign a receipt, furnished by the board members, with their code number. The caller is asked to call the Crime Stoppers office after they pay-off to confirm that they received their money. The receipt is forwarded to the treasurer of the board for their records.
Eligibility and Reward Contingencies