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Police Department

Nashville Crime Stoppers Program Overview

When a case is not solved within a reasonable length of time, the leads diminish, the trail becomes cold, evidence becomes unobtainable, and the crime becomes increasingly more difficult to solve. For this reason most department files contain many unsolved cases. When this occurs, a method is then needed that will re-awaken public interest in the case and will also call upon the citizens for help in providing the needed information that could lead to the solution of the crime.

Quite often citizens may witness all or part of a crime without being aware of what they have seen. Consequently they may unknowingly possess key information that could aid the police in solving the crime. In order for the police to receive this vital information, the citizens must be made aware of the importance of the information they possess by having the incident recalled to their attention and explaining what information is needed by the police to solve the crime.

All too often citizens do not contact the police with information that could help solve a crime out of fear that if they reveal their own identity they would expose themselves, or their families, to acts of retaliation by the criminal. In most of these instances these citizens will not come forward with information unless they can be absolutely assured that they will be provided complete anonymity by the police. If the police fail to provide this anonymity when it is desired, the result is usually the loss of vital information due to a lack of willingness to cooperate on the part of these citizens.

In other instances, citizens may not come forward with needed information because they lack the knowledge of how or whom to contact in the police organization. It is much easier to converse with someone you "know" is interested in what you have to say. Once these citizens "work up the courage" to contact the police, they must be assured that whomever they talk to will be interested in, and respond to, whatever information they relay. Otherwise, these citizens may call in once with information, but certainly will not call a second time if they are shuffled and transferred from one person or department to another.

The Crime Stoppers concept provides a method of overcoming these limitations and involving the citizens in the solution of felony crimes. Through the "Crime Stoppers" program, citizens who have knowledge of a specific crime are encouraged, either for civic or monetary reasons, to come forward to the police with this information. Throught his program, the public is reminded that the police need their assistance in making our community a safe place to live. The public is also reminded that good police-community relations are more than just the responsibility of the police department. Crime Stoppers allows any citizen coming forward with information to remain completely anonymous, if they so desire. In this way, the citizen is assured that his identity will be protected and that any information relayed will be utilized. To effectively integrate the knowledge of the citizenry, Crime Stoppers must also receive the support of the various representatives of the news media such as television, newspapers and radio.

Objectives

The Crime Stoppers program is sponsored by various civic, professional, social organizations and groups of our community; as well as by any interested and concerned individual citizen. This program will provide a vehicle for the free flow of information from the public concerning felony criminal activity; yet will also provide cash rewards to citizens for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of an offender involved in an unsolved felony crime.

The "Crime Stoppers" program will (1) be funded by public contributions, (2) have a civilian board of directors to oversee and administer the funds, (3) be established as a non-profit corporation under Tennessee Law, and (4) coordinate its activities with the police department.

The program objectives are:

  1. To furnish area law enforcement agencies with information on felony crimes, wanted persons, and other criminal activity that would otherwise be unobtainable.
  2. To motivate and promote public cooperation and involvement with law enforcement efforts and to reward such involvement.
  3. To foster better police-community relations through increased public awareness.
  4. To prevent many crimes before they are actually committed.

Example of Typical Crime Stoppers Case