GREENSBORO, N.C. -- On every law enforcement vehicle in Guilford County is the newly award-winning Crime Stoppers logo, which contains the anonymous tip line number and text information for a service GPD says is critical to criminal investigations.
Greensboro Crime Stoppers is one of 90 Crime Stoppers agencies across North Carolina, all of which operate in a similar fashion. The Greensboro office, located in the Greensboro Police Department on Maple Street, is a small space operated by only two people--non-sworn employees who serve as Crime Stoppers coordinators. Agent Becky Fallon is one them. She oversees the fielding of incoming tips, which average of 60 to 100 per month.
Fallon said many community members express common concerns about giving tips. She said they worry they will subsequently have to testify in a trial, that they will incriminate themselves through admitted association with a suspect or that the suspect will be able to figure out who submitted the tip. Fallon explained the detectives never allow suspects to hear or read the tip submitted against them.
Fallon stressed every tip that comes in is completely anonymous. She said she even asks callers not to give their names. Crime Stoppers said it has the only Greensboro Police Department phone in the city without caller ID, and calls made to it cannot be taped or traced.
Every single tip, Fallon affirmed, is given to a detective or squad working on a case. "It's not for me to decide" whether a tip is valid, she said. The majority of the calls are in relation to drugs or the high-profile nature of a crime that has been broadcast through news outlets.
Crime Stoppers is operated by a board of directors, not the state. Thus, no taxpayer dollars are used to run or provide rewards for the program. Through fundraising efforts, Crime Stoppers does collect funds for cash rewards. Each time someone provides a tip that yields an arrest or indictment, the tipster is eligible to receive up to a $2,000 cash reward, depending on the nature of the crime. Last year, Crime Stoppers gave out $40,000 in tip money but had approved $51,000. Some reward recipients never picked up their rewards. Fallon said this is suggestive of some people's desire to solely help fight crime and not be compensated for their efforts.
Since Crime Stoppers launched in Greensboro in 1981, the agency has received 29,865 tips and recovered $8,408,132 in property. Tips also have helped solve several homicide cases.
Recently, among other Crime Stoppers agencies, GPD won the "Best Promotional Idea" award for developing the new logo in 2012. On the new design are brightly-colored finger prints, the tip line phone numbers and texting information--336-373-1000 (ext. 4) and BADBOYZ (274637), respectively.
WFMY News 2