WHAT IS STUDENT CRIME STOPPERS?
Student Crime Stoppers is a program that involves the students, school administration and staff, and the police in the reduction and prevention of crime on school property. It offers anonymity and cash rewards to students who furnish information leading to an arrest or disciplinary action against offenders. It also offers anonymity and cash rewards to students who furnish information that prevents crimes from occurring, such as threats of violence and intimidation. The anonymity offered by Crime Stoppers overcomes the fear students have of coming forward with information, and the offering of cash rewards overcomes apathy.
Student Crime Stoppers involves the students at every level of the program. The students take full ownership of the program from the very start, with guidance provided by a school resource officer and/or school staff member. The program is administered by a student board of directors who have the responsibility of promoting, fund raising, and making recommendations for cash rewards.
Though each school tailors its Crime Stoppers program to fit its needs, the concept is the same. A student with information concerning a crime that has occurred, or may occur, contacts the Crime Stoppers program (through a tip line, school resource officer, designated staff member, or perhaps through any adult within the school whom they trust). The anonymous student is given a Crime Stoppers code number. The information is passed along to the school administration and possibly law enforcement, for follow-up. If the information prevents a crime from occurring or leads to an arrest, disciplinary action, or recovery of property, the student receives a cash reward for their help. Cash rewards usually range from $10 to $100.
A successful Student Crime Stoppers program will reduce violence, criminalization and victimization of the student population by encouraging students to report incidents and threats of violence and other crimes that occur at school or at school events. It also promotes school pride and responsibility and allows students to take an active part in their own safety. Student Crime Stoppers is internationally recognized and has received the endorsement of the National School Board of America.
Though there is not one single program or plan that can solve the problem of violence, Student Crime Stoppers in the schools gives youth a sense that they have some control over their own safety at school. It is the purpose of Student Crime Stoppers to provide a safe place where students feel free to provide information and get past their fear of being called a snitch. Crime Stoppers increases students individual self-esteem by establishing their importance in the school environment and enabling them to make a difference.
Though statistics do not exist concerning the number of violent crimes prevented due to Student Crime Stoppers programs, we are certain that many tragedies could have been avoided if only an anonymous reporting system like Crime Stoppers existed. In an article published in the FBI LAW ENFORCEMENT BULLETIN, is written, In all but one of the six school shootings, the suspects leaked their intentions to other students, but the police did not receive this information. At the time of the shootings, none of these schools had a Student Crime Stoppers Program or an anonymous tip line or comment box in place. A tip line or similar program would facilitate the flow of anonymous information from students to the police and would constitute a definitive preventive effort . . . If the targeted schools had had an anonymous tip program, the police probably could have caught several of the shooters as they entered their schools.