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How it Works

Put simply, it is a three part approach to solving the crimes. Silent Observer relies on cooperation between the police, the media, and the general community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals.

The Phone Call

Calls are received at a 24-hour Call Center, which specializes only in taking crime tips.  Conversations are not recorded and personal information about the caller is never requested. Once the tip has been received locally from the call center, the information is reviewed by the local coordinator and then passed on to the agency of jurisdiction or unit best suited to investigate the tip.  Calls are accepted regarding any publicized request for information, "Most Wanted", firearms and illegal drug violations, and other serious crimes.

By guaranteeing a caller`s anonymity, Silent Observer allows the caller to give information in a positive atmosphere without fear of retaliation. By offering cash rewards for information leading to indictment or arrests, the program encourages otherwise reluctant callers to provide information.

The Online WebTip

Tipsters now have the option of reporting tips online. The process is completely secure and anonymous. Our WebTip process is powered by the world's leading online tip solution provider, Anderson Software.  

The very unique integrated Two-Way Dialog software allows the tipster to come back and provide additional information to their tip at any time, but also provides a secure means for the coordinator to ask questions or provide reward information back to the tipster through the same encrypted interface.

Text-a-Tip Program

Silent Observer can receive anonymous Text Messages in addition to online and phone call tips.  Text-a-tip software allows Silent Observer and the tipster to communicate back and forth without revealing their identity or phone number.

The tipster simply dials CRIMES (274637), and then types KZOO in the first line, followed by the message.

 

Structure and Funding of Crime Stoppers

Silent Observer  programs are organized as not-for-profit organizations (Charity). A civilian community board of directors provides direction as to the financial and promotional activities of the program.

The Silent Observer program is funded by donations. There are no tax dollars levied for this program. The reward money paid out by the program is from fundraising, as well as the donations from concerned citizens, businesses and agencies/organizations.

A community board of directors, made up of persons from throughout the area, meets on a monthly basis to evaluate arrests and to decide on the size of rewards to be paid. Rewards are then distributed in a private manner to the callers. Callers are eligible for rewards up to $1,000, but, despite this, many callers choose not to collect their rewards.

Does Silent Observer Work?

The answer is simply, "Yes". Since the start of Silent Observer, thousands of calls have been received resulting in thousands of arrests and recovery of substantial amounts of property. Calls have included information about murder, robbery, rape, assaults, drug and firearm offenses.

The success of a Silent Observer  program cannot be purely judged on statistics, however, other benefits have come to notice:

  • A greater awareness in the community that crime is an issue.
  • A willingness by the community to fight back against crime if it is given the opportunity and motivation.
  • Improved relationships between police, media, and the community.

Silent Observer is definitely here to stay. It has been accepted by police as a valid and effective investigative tool and the public, through its overwhelming response, appears to have accepted it as a more palatable alternative to traditional methods of giving information.


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