Operating throughout Australia, Crime Stoppers has become an integral part of community safety with the information gathered and supplied by the community essential to assisting our police agencies with crime solving and prevention.
Crime Stoppers Australia (CSA) comprises a board of directors who represent their respective States or Territories as well as key members of the Government and private enterprise who are able to make a contribution to the safety of Australians.
The largest stakeholder in CSA are the State and Territory Crime Stoppers programs.
These programs are represented on the Board of CSA together with a senior Police officer, who is elected to represent all Police Commissioners in Australia.
Corporate sponsors provide Crime Stoppers with the funds for cash rewards and crime prevention marketing.
Our general other stakeholders are:
Police agencies from each State and Territory in Australia
State and Territory Governments
Australian Federal Police
The Community – all the people who call this country – home
You, the citizens, form the foundation of a local Crime Stoppers program. Crime Stoppers relies 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 equipment in Crime Stoppers service that records voices or traces telephone numbers. Anonymity 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.
Community members also participate in the day-to-day operations and financial support of the program. Volunteer directors serve on the Crime Stoppers board and are responsible for operating the non-profit corporation, raising funds and approving appropriate reward payments when crimes are solved.
Members of the public also support Crime Stoppers at public events and through various other fundraising activities.
As part of the mutual obligation between the community, the police and the media, local media outlets are responsible for promoting 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.
The History of CSA
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. It’s also interesting to note that since adopting Crime Stoppers Albuquerque’s crime rate has dropped significantly and no longer is ranked in the list of 20 cities with the highest per capita crime rate.