Crime Stoppers is the brainchild of a Canadian-born Albuquerque, New Mexico police detective, who was assigned to investigate a 1976 robbery gone afoul that resulted in the senseless shooting of a young part-time employee of a gas station. Frustrated by the lack of a solid investigative lead in this case, the detective recognized there were two reasons the public did not communicate information concerning the crime to the police. These two prohibitions were a valid fear of reprisal and pervasive public apathy. The detective reasoned that if he were to offer a cash reward to overcome the apathy, while guaranteeing anonymity to protect against reprisal, he might be able to solve this case. He contacted the local media, staged an on-site televised re-enactment of the crime and offered a cash reward from his own pocket for information leading to the arrest(s) of the persons responsible. He set up a secure “tips” line and invited the public, after viewing the re-enactment, to call with any information. He received many calls that were followed up by the police….and VOILA….the case was solved.
The Crime Stoppers triad was forged when the community, media and police continued to work together, solving crimes, and spread quickly to the point where there are Crime Stoppers programs all across North America, Britain, South Africa, Guam, Australia and the Caribbean. The impact of this crime fighting network in Ontario has been astounding! Since the original Ontario program began operation in 1983 to the end of 1999, Crime Stoppers tips have led to the arrest of 50,000 persons and the recovery of $375 million in stolen property and seized illicit narcotics.