Crime Stoppers in the Schools
Crime Stoppers in the Schools
Crime touches all lives, directly or indirectly. Crime Stoppers, which began in 1976, is a successful non-profit community-based organization which combines the cooperative efforts of the community, the media, and law enforcement in the fight against crime. Guaranteeing anonymity and a cash reward, Crime Stoppers encourages the public to call with information that leads to the arrest of persons committing crimes.
Because crime can leave a profound mark on our youth, school safety has become an emotional issue that has shot to the forefront of national and local public sentiment. Following the success and design of community programs, the first student Crime Stoppers program was started in a Boulder, CO high school in 1983. Now, over 2000 programs exist in middle and high schools, community colleges and colleges throughout the nation.
The existence of Crime Stoppers does not indicate that a school has a crime or drug problem, but teaches a proactive not reactive approach to administrators, students, parents, and the community by publicizing a safer school environment. Often utilized within the curriculum to teach character development, the program promotes school spirit and pride, and a positive campus image to students. Indirectly, schools may experience a reduced risk of lawsuits and put a check on insurance costs. In addition to being a way students can safely report school crimes anonymously without fear of retaliation, this program encourages the development of responsibility. Students can participate in a valuable extracurricular activity, while they benefit from a reduction in incidents on campus and enjoy an increased sense of security.
Although students do not come into contact with victims or persons committing crimes, student boards are appointed to promote the program, review information about crimes and determine what type of rewards will be given. A variety of crimes can be committed on a school campus, such as vandalism, theft, graffiti, bomb threats, excessive bullying, arson, and presentation of drugs and weapons. Depending on the severity of the crime, rewards for tips can range from $100-$200 for drugs or weapons on campus, or be passes to school activities, movies or parks, free school items, and various gift certificates for lesser crimes and for younger students. There are those who advocate that paying rewards could promote students to become “snitches” or invent crimes as revenge against other students, however crimes are carefully investigated and only a small percent of students ever collect the rewards.
All things considered, we would rather have an anonymous good student citizen, who can safely report crime solving or crime preventing information, than a grieving school and community following a violent tragedy on campus that could have been prevented had there been a Crime Stoppers program in place.
For more information on starting a Crime Stoppers program in your school or community, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.