An inside look at how Crime Stoppers keeps tipsters anonymous

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The city of Indianapolis has recorded over 140 homicides in 2018, more than 130 of those are murders.

Often, police turn to the public, asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers. Police say, if more people understood the program, more crimes could be solved.

Crime Stoppers is anonymous. In fact, tipsters who call-in can’t leave their name.

“We’re an anonymous based system, so we don’t allow it at all,” said Daniel Rosenberg, Director of Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.

The caller gives the Crime Stoppers operator what information they have about a crime and is then given a password.

“Our only connection to that person is a non-descript password,” said Rosenberg

Tipsters with additional information or who want to check the status of the case can call again in and use that password for everything.

If information leads to a felony arrest, Crime Stoppers will post that information in the case file.

“We will send a message back basically posting it on that forum saying, ‘Hey your tip led to an arrest, congratulations, you have the ability to get a reward,’” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg says the majority of callers don’t want the reward. For those who do, with that password, the tipster sets up a time and place to meet someone from Crime Stoppers.

The tipster and Crime Stoppers representative don’t know each other’s name. The two parties meet at a predetermined location where the reward is handed to the tipster. Both parties then go their separate ways.

In 2017, Crime Stoppers received about 7,500 tips.

Through October 2018, they’ve received about 6,400 tips leading to 198 arrests and 173 fugitives captured.

One goal of the program is to increase IMPD’s homicide clearance rate, the number of cases solved.

In 2017, that clearance rate was 50.28 percent for 179 homicides.

Through October 2018, the clearance rate is 64.3 percent for 143 homicides.

“These tips are that starting point, especially here in a big city like Indianapolis, there’s a lot of work to be done,” Rosenberg said.

Tips can also be submitted anonymously at the Crime Stoppers website or through an app.

Crime Stoppers says, if callers don’t wish to remain anonymous, representatives will connect them with investigators to speak with directly.

Click here for more information on Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.

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