Crime Stoppers Overview
When a criminal case is not solved within a reasonable length of time, the investigative leads diminish. The trail becomes cold, evidence becomes unobtainable, and the crime becomes increasingly more difficult to solve. For this reason, most police department files contain many unsolved cases. When this occurs, a method is needed that will re-awaken public interest and will also call upon citizens for help in providing the needed information.
Quite often, citizens witness all or part of a crime without being aware of what they have seen. Consequently, they unknowingly possess key information that could aid 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. The incident must be recalled to their attention and explain 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. Due to fear, they believe if they reveal their own identity then 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. In order to share information with police, they must be assured they will be provided complete anonymity. If the police fail to provide this anonymity, the result is usually the loss of vital information due to the lack of willingness to cooperate.
In other instances, citizens may not come forward with information because they lack the knowledge of how or whom to contact in the police organization. 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 Stopper concept provides a method of overcoming these limitations and involving citizens in the solution of crime. 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 police. Through this program, the public is reminded that the police need their assistance to make the community a safer place to live. Crime Stoppers allows any citizen coming forward with information to remain completely anonymous. In this way, the citizen is assured that his identity will be protected and that any useful information relayed will be utilized. To effectively integrate the knowledge of the public, Crime Stoppers must also receive the support of the various representatives of the media such as television, radio, and print.
The Crime Stoppers Board
Baytown Crime Stoppers, Inc. is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. It has a board of directors made up of citizens from the local community. The board of directors meets once a month on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 8:00 AM. The board of directors will meet in the conference room at 220 W. Defee.
The Role of the Crime Stoppers Coordinator
The Crime Stoppers Coordinator is a member of the police department. The coordinator acts as a liaison between the crime stoppers board of directors and the police department.
The coordinator needs to attend the meetings of the crime stoppers’ board of directors. The coordinator will assist the board of directors with the operation of the crime stoppers program as needed.
Campus Crime Stoppers Program
Baytown Crime Stoppers currently umbrellas eight campus crime stoppers programs within the Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District. There are active crime stoppers programs at the following campuses:
- Baytown Junior High School
- Cedar Bayou Junior High School
- Gentry Junior High School
- Highlands Junior High School
- Horace Mann Junior High School
- Goose Creek Memorial High School
- Robert E Lee High School
- Ross S Sterling High School
The crime stoppers coordinator is responsible for overseeing the campus crime stoppers programs and reporting their status to the crime stoppers board of directors.
The crime stoppers coordinator will work closely with the sponsor(s) from each campus program. The sponsor is a faculty member that oversees the crime stoppers program at their given campus. If a new sponsor is needed, it is recommended that the coordinator meet with the principal of the campus where a vacancy exist and discuss with them about selecting a sponsor for the program at their campus. Ideally, two sponsors on each campus are desired.
The sponsor will be responsible for the day to operations of the programs at their particular campus. The coordinator will provide training to the sponsors as needed. Each campus program should meet at least one time a month at a time and place designated by the sponsor. The coordinator should attend each meeting and present the coordinator’s report. The coordinator’s report should be prepared by the crime stoppers analyst on a monthly basis.
The crime stoppers coordinator should assist the campus programs with fundraising and other endeavors.
Campus Crime Stoppers Conference
Each year select members and sponsors from each campus program are eligible to attend the campus crime stoppers conference. The conferences are held at different locations throughout the state. It is the crime stoppers coordinator’s responsibility to ensure that all attendees get registered and that all travel arrangements are made (i.e. travel and lodging). More information on the campus conference can be located at www.crimestoppers.txstate.edu.