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Crime Stoppers – How have you found it?

By johnboy 30 June 2009 20

[First filed: June 29, 2009 @ 08:26]

In our most recent police wrap stories came out from commenters about not being able to get through to an operator when calling the Crime Stoppers service.

With news reports, advertising, and police media all directing the public to contact Crime Stoppers rather than directly contacting the police this is potentially a bit of a problem.

So if you’ve had reason to contact Crime Stoppers we’re interested to hear your story about how you found the experience.

What’s Your opinion?


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20 Responses to
Crime Stoppers – How have you found it?
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Timberwolf65 9:12 am 30 Jun 09

I still think it could be manned 24/7, just have a 24 hour rotation of shift workers, I work in a switchboard that has to be 24/7 never closed there is always someone there.

I know if I rang Crimestoppers and got an answering machine, I would not leave a msg as i would prefer to talk to a real person.

grump 12:17 am 30 Jun 09

ACTRCS – what’s that web site again? – just checked – was getting error message “Bad Request (Invalid Hostname): – you need to rermove the full stop at the end so it reads:

http://www.act.crimestoppers.com.au

ACTRCS 10:28 pm 29 Jun 09

Hi Cranky and Granny – ACTRCS accepts that there are a few issues at hand. The ACT Region Crime Stoppers mission is to encourage the public to work with law enforcement to help make our community safe from crime. Crime Stoppers is based on the principle that “someone other than the criminal has information that can solve a crime”. The program was created to overcome the three major problems faced by law enforcement agencies in generating that information, these are:

fear of reprisal,
an attitude of apathy, and
reluctance to get involved.

Crime Stoppers resolves these problems by offering anonymity to people who provide information about crimes (callers and on-line reporters do not give their names – they are only known by a unique code number to facilitate payment of rewards if eligible – anonymity is essential to the success of the Crime Stoppers program). ACTRCS offers rewards when the information supplied leads to arrest.
The Crime Stoppers motto is ‘See something, Hear something, Say something’ – this simply is an appeal to individuals that if they know something about a crime that’s occurred, or know / suspect someone who has committed a criminal act, to report it, please. Reports to Crime Stoppers are passed to Police. The Police will examine the report and assess the validity of the information (against other known facts) to determine whether it is legitimate. Crime Stoppers is not about dobbing people in – put simply – it’s an important program that relies on the community, police and the media to help solve crimes that have already occurred. The Crime Stoppers program is not funded by Police – it is a program that relies on the small allocation of Federal Government funds and private sponsorship that is used to ‘promote / advertise’ the need for members of the public to report what they know. The smallest bit of information, combined with other reports that Crime Stoppers receives, might be the final clue in solving a crime.

bd84 9:08 pm 29 Jun 09

I have called once a couple of years ago and got the answering machine, haven’t had the need to call again. I do think they should go back to reporting local crime such as break-ins etc in newspapers such as the Chronicle, people tend to witness things and think nothing of it until something like a news report jogs their memories. But then I don’t know how successful it was those years ago, but surely it wouldn’t be a hindrance.

Kim F 9:04 pm 29 Jun 09

One morning, I was in a Servo in Braddon paying for my petrol. Young bloke in a hoody came into the shop with the hood on, looked really suss as he fidgited about. There were a few customers in, he turned and left hurriedly without appearing to have to pay for petrol or buying anything. I heard later that a different servo in Braddon got robbed not long after so I rang Crimestoppers to tell them to check the security Camera in the Servo I was in in case it had a better picture of the young bloke in case it was the same guy. Whoever took my call had trouble understanding my story and kept on asking whether I was in the Servo that was robbed. I can’t remember how many times I tried to explain that I wasn’t. A couple of hours later, a Detective rang me and openned the conversation by saying that he understood I witnessed the robbery.

cranky 8:44 pm 29 Jun 09

ACTRCS,

Thank you for your input. Without being rude, you have paraphrased the introduction a caller gets when calling Crimestoppers.

Some recognition by yourself or other in authority that you have read and comprehended Granny’s post above, (as the best summary of this topic), would make me personally feel considerably more comfortable with your system.

I am not sure the person I am ‘dobbing in’ has a case to answer. I am identifying an individual who very closely resembles the person in question. It was not an easy decision to pick up the phone.

An answering machine is not the way to reassure timid callers that they are being heard, and their concerns taken seriously.

You have not addressed this concern!

ACTRCS 7:46 pm 29 Jun 09

On behalf of ACT Region Crime Stoppers I would like to pass on my gratitude to those of you who have commented on your Crime Stoppers experience.
As an alternative to the 1800 333 000 free call number, ACT Crime Stoppers launched its own website on 6 June 2008, see http://www.act.crimestoppers.com.au. This website provides details of numerous unsolved crimes commited in the Canberra district. Like the phone call, it enables anyone with knowledge about any crime to report it anonomously on-line.
Most Importantly, if you are a Victim of Crime, other than in life threatening or time critical emergency situations you should contact the Police Communications on 131444. To contact your local police station telephone ACT Policing on 6256 7777. ANY INCIDENT YOU WITNESS WHICH REQUIRES IMMEDIATE POLICE ACTION OR INTERVENTION SHOULD BE REPORTED TO 000 IN THE FIRST INSTANCE.

sunshine 7:37 pm 29 Jun 09

have called crimestoppers several times and can’t say i ever had any problems with them. Managed to get straight through each time and all my info was taken in a timely and professional manner.

troutfisher 5:35 pm 29 Jun 09

I think you will find some people find it easier to leave a message on a machine and have no personal interaction at all. The old Aussie trait of not dobbing someone in may seem that little more detached.

Granny 4:28 pm 29 Jun 09

However, if you want people to call in why not make it easy for them? There’s often no personal benefit to the person calling, and many people dislike leaving messages on machines. Why discourage people who may be very busy or nervous about calling anyway?

As cranky said, what’s wrong with diverting calls to police when the office is unattended?

If you’ve had even two people put off by the answering machine, I would suggest that’s two people too many. I would also suggest that if there are two on RA in recent times you can multiply that many times out in the community.

You may lose *the* lead needed to solve a case and never get it back. It may not be urgent, but it may be the difference between closure that some family has been waiting for for decades and a lost opportunity for justice.

It makes no sense to me that people wouldn’t go, “Oh, no! We don’t want that!” and do something to fix these issues reported in two separate instances.

And if Crimestoppers is so unimportant it can all wait till tomorrow, why bother funding it? Why not just let people ring the police directly?

TAD 3:44 pm 29 Jun 09

By their very nature calls to Crimestoppers aren’t urgent. If you had left a message, I’m sure you would have been called back.

All people need to eat and crap, Crimestoppers staff included.

cranky 2:07 pm 29 Jun 09

I’m sure the info does get through. One would expect it.

Fact remains I got an answering machine, the message indicating the office may be unattended.

Sure, the sole operator may need a break, but couldn’t the switch be thrown to feed the call to Police Operations for the short period required.

TAD 12:49 pm 29 Jun 09

I think you may be a bit confused about Crimestoppers not being the police JB.

Each state’s police provide the crimestoppers service for their respective jurisdiction so all calls in the ACT go to the ACT Police Crimestoppers office. The folks taking the calls then provide the info to the respective investigating officers pronto.

After hours (after 10pm weekdays and 4pm weekends), the calls go through to police operations who will do the same job.

It’s a bit of a one way street, but I can assure you that the information does get passed onto the right person.

housebound 12:32 pm 29 Jun 09

You phone, they log it. One the very few occasions we’ve tried, it’s worked just as intended.

Jivrashia 12:00 pm 29 Jun 09

I called them about a month ago regarding an attempted break-in through my garage (evidence of someone trying to jack up my roller door with an implement) on their ACT police station number. It was around 6:30pm on a weekday.

Promptly got hold of an officer on the other end, spent about 10 minutes on the phone exchanging details, and that was it.

No hassles.

Katietonia 10:24 am 29 Jun 09

I got through fine when I called them.

sepi 9:51 am 29 Jun 09

I made a call a few years ago about drug dealing from a restaurant.
They said “staff” I said “yes” and they hung up. It was a bit wierd.

I haven’t tried since – not that I’ve had any serious crimes to report.

Spectra 9:51 am 29 Jun 09

I’ve called them once, about 6 months ago. Got straight through, no problems.

WanniAss 9:20 am 29 Jun 09

I think I’ve made two calls, both answered promptly and dealt with ok

FC 8:36 am 29 Jun 09

I have contacted crimestoppers in the past and have found them to be helpful and supportive.

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