It is no secret that a safer city means more visitors, more residents and more business, resulting in more jobs and increased revenues.
At the core of creating a safer city is preventing crime. While increased police visibility has an impactful effect in deterring criminal activity, the foundation of real prevention and reduction is in taking criminals off the streets.
Crime Stoppers Atlanta gets to the core of crime prevention and public safety by identifying the people committing crimes and helping law enforcement get them off the streets.
Crime Stoppers of Greater Atlanta is a community based organization that promotes
citizen involvement in public safety by educating residents about crime prevention and
providing cash incentives for anonymous information that helps law enforcement solve crimes.
To be recognized by all metro Atlanta law enforcement agencies, businesses and citizens
as an important component in the effort to solve crimes.
In January 2007, the Atlanta Police Foundation, in partnership with the Atlanta Police Department, launched Crime Stoppers Atlanta – the first program in metro Atlanta that directly engages the community to impact crime reduction and public safety.
Crime Stoppers Atlanta rallies citizens, provides an avenue for them to safely and anonymously report information about criminal activity and incentivizes them with monetary rewards if the information leads to an arrest and indictment.
The information provided through the Crime Stoppers Atlanta helps law enforcement agencies in their investigations and can play a major role in the apprehension of criminals and in securing convictions.
Today, more than 60 metro Atlanta Law enforcement agencies participate in the program. Its growth and impact of the program has been bolstered by the launch of several strategic initiatives in 2010:
- Fugitive Stoppers – a partnership with the U.S. Marshals’ Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force to identify and capture wanted criminals in metro Atlanta.
- Campus Crime Stoppers – a partnership with Atlanta Public Schools to provide a safe outlet for students to report crimes and help address juvenile crime rates, resulting in safer schools.
- Burglaries Stoppers – a partnership with the Fulton County District Attorney, the Fulton County Sherriff and the police chiefs of Fulton County to form the Fulton County Multi-Jurisdictional Burglary Task Force to help capture burglars and address the increasing burglaries Fulton County.
How Crime Stoppers Atlanta works
Crime Stoppers Atlanta uses a collaborative, multimedia approach to solving crime. The concept is designed to gather information about unsolved crimes through the cooperation of the local community, law enforcement and media.
When an individual has information about the Crime of the Week, any other unsolved crimes, or information about a wanted fugitive, he or she is encouraged to call 404-577-TIPS (8477), text CSA and information to CRIMES, or e-mail the anonymous information using the online form at www.crimestoppersatlanta.org. The tip can result in a reward up to $2,000 to the individual who supplied the information needed to solve the crime.
Crime Stoppers Atlanta and the Cost of Crime
A 2009 study by the RAND Corporation found that the economic impact of crime to society goes well beyond the enforcement costs, such as police, courts and incarceration; the true costs of crime include lost property, treatment for injuries, crime avoidance costs, i.e., private security, lost revenues, reduced usability of certain areas, etc.
Including all tangible and intangible costs, the study showed total costs per crime could reach well into the millions of dollars:
In a tough economic landscape with shrinking public safety budgets, city governments are forced to make deep cuts, including to police, putting a heavier burden on law enforcement and further jeopardizing the safety and security of the community. When you take a look at the figures from the Rand study and take into account the U.S. Marshals’ statistic that a fugitive will commit 10 to 13 additional crimes while on the run, you get a real sense of the impact a program such as Crime Stoppers Atlanta has on the community.
To understand the economic impact, it is important to look at the crime statistics for the City and the costs for rewards paid by crime type in comparison to the costs per crime figures from the Rand study.
Crime Stoppers Atlanta, as a force multiplier helps law enforcement reduce the time it takes to investigate cases and put criminals behind bars. The faster the criminals are taken off the streets, the more crimes can be prevented, reducing the total costs – from investigation through prosecution – and helps make tight government budgets work more efficiently.
Why it works
Criminals live in the same community that Crime Stoppers Atlanta serves; therefore, the program relies on the assumption that someone in the community knows who is committing crimes and has information that can help law enforcement take them off the streets.
Crime Stoppers Atlanta works because private donations help break through the barriers that would normally keep citizens with information from helping law enforcement:
- Fear of reprisal
- An attitude of apathy
- Reluctance to get involved
The success of Crime Stoppers Atlanta depends on donations from private sources allowing for the information to be provided anonymously, thereby removing the threat of retaliation, and providing the incentive of a monetary reward making the idea of getting involved a little more attractive.
What makes a program like Crime Stoppers Atlanta even more impactful is the fact that 100 percent of the funds raised for rewards go to pay rewards for information that has led to an arrest and indictment – directly taking criminals off the street. There is no other law enforcement tool that has such a direct link to crime prevention, nor a philanthropic entity with such a direct effect on its cause