Crime Stop is a partnership between the community, the police and the media designed to involve the public in the fight against crime. Crime Stop encourages the public to give information by offering total anonymity to all callers and, for those who wish, a cash reward for information that leads to an arrest, recovery of stolen property or the seizure of illegal drugs or guns. The programme is administered by the National Crime Prevention Fund and is run under the direction of The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica.
In October 1987, a group of private sector businesses and service organizations appealed in an open letter to the government of the day and to the political parties to re-establish the rule of law and security of the people.
Under the direction of the President of the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association, Mr. Gordon “Butch” Stewart, they set out to raise the funds to assist the national effort. After raising $1.3 million and due consideration, it was decided that the most direct and suitable programme in the fight against crime that the PSOJ could initiate would be to bring about a partnership between the media, the private sector, the police and the community by offering rewards for information leading to the arrest of criminals and the recovery of stolen property, illegal firearms and illegal narcotics. Of critical importance was an option of anonymity for informants being built into the process. This led to the decision to initiate a “Crime Stoppers” programme similar to those that operate in the United States, Canada and numerous countries around the world.
By May 1989 the NATIONAL CRIME PREVENTION FUND was established which was converted into a limited liability company on March 21, 1991. A Trust was created and a Board of Trustees appointed to administer the Fund with a Board of Directors drawn from the media, PSOJ, Jamaica Constabulary Force and the community.
A paid civilian coordinator was appointed to oversee the day to day administration of the fund.
On September 6, 1989 the Crime Stop programme was officially launched.
Board of Directors: The Board consists of ten members – three representing the media and related bodies, two from the PSOJ, one from the police force and four members for the community. The Board meets once a month.
Coordinator: The Coordinator answers directly to the Board of Directors and the responsibilities include:
• Day to day administration of the entire Fund’s business, including management of the office and the information gathering and processing operations:
• Research into, writing and production of the monthly Crime of the Month programme and news releases, as well as production of corporate advertising and public relations;
• Preparation and management of the Fund’s budget;
• Soliciting support at all levels from major media and related bodies, the private sector, the police and the public.
All the costs of the programme, including the administration, advertising and payments for the rewards are covered by the following:
• Media and related bodies contribute on an ongoing and regular basis, free time and space, design and production facilities for advertisements, posters, stickers and the like.
• The police provide office space and personnel to man the telephone hotlines.
• The PSOJ secretariat provides accounting services free of cost.
• All cash expenses are paid for by interest which is accrued on the Capital Investment Fund which is made up from donations received from the private sector.
“CRIME STOP” OFFICES
The Crime Stop offices are housed at the Office of the Commissioner of Police. Members of the force- referred to as Counselors – answer the Crime Stop Hot Lines and follow up on the information given to the Police for action. The counselors work on a shift basis so as to ensure a 24 hour, 7 day a week monitoring of the telephones. The Counselors responsibilities include the following:
• Receiving and logging of information from and offering advice to callers where required
• Passing information to an investigating officer in the appropriate division.
• Maintaining an efficient follow up system to obtain feedback from investigating officer on a daily basis.
• To provide Crime Stop informants with appropriate feedback when requested by them
• To enter all information on the computer on a daily basis.
HOW THE PROGRAMME WORKS
When an informant calls the office with information they are given a code number – this number becomes the file number. The information is recorded and handed out to the relevant police authorities to act on. If the informant is interested in receiving a reward they will call back giving their code number to check on the outcome of the information they have gave. If the information leads to an arrest and/or recovery of stolen or illegal property the informant is entitled to receive a reward if it is requested. The reward is paid in cash and once a request is made for a reward arrangements are made to have the money left at a safe place decided on by the informant. The amount of the reward is determined by guidelines set out by the Board of Directors.