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 like those in the United States, Canada and numerous other countries.
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.
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 daily.
- To provide Crime Stop informants with appropriate feedback when requested by them
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 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 payout, arrangements are made to have the money left at a safe place chosen by the informant.