How Crime Stoppers works, its history, and how to use it - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

How Crime Stoppers works, its history, and how to use it

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KENNEWICK, WA - The majority of crimes that are solved in our area are due to citizen tip-offs, giving information to the Tri-Cities Regional Crime Stoppers. Reporter Jaclyn Selesky got a Crime Stoppers breakdown from liason Mike Blatman, to find out how you can report a crime and help law enforcement tie up loose ends.

The biggest emphasis on Crime Stoppers is that it's completely anonymous. Most of the time, people are reluctant to come forward with information because they don't want to get involved.

When you call 911 or an emergency dispatch number, everything is recorded, but when you call or submit a tip to Crime Stoppers, they don't even know who they're talking to or where the information is being reported from.

"Crime Stoppers' main purpose and main goal is to help guarantee that anonymity of the person who's making that call, that can provide information that can arrest a person, or help solve a crime that's gone unsolved," said Blatman.

Another thing most people don't know is that Crime Stoppers is completely independent of law enforcement. You can give information in three ways: call (509) 586-TIPS, via their website, or using their app, "P3". Depending on the nature of the case, you can be eligible for a cash reward up to $1,000.

The international non-profit organization is a 24-hour, 7 days a week, 365 days a year service, with people available to assist you able to speak up to 25 languages.

The History of Crime Stoppers

KENNEWICK, WA - Tri-Cities Regional Crime Stoppers just celebrated their 40th anniversary this past year. With that milestone, we wanted to tell you the history of Crime Stoppers.

It all started in 1976, when a college student was shot and killed during a gas station robbery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A detective with the Albuquerque Police Department and a former reporter for a local newspaper knew it was going to require a different strategy to encourage the public to get involved and help solve the murder. Thus, the idea of Crime Stoppers was born.

The detective, along with a local news station, produced a reenactment of the homicide and guaranteed confidentiality for anyone who would come forward with information and give them a cash reward. Within a few hours of the recreation, the first anonymous call came in.

"Out of that grew the idea that there are a lot of people who have information out there, and what keeps people from coming forth with some of that information is the fear of retribution," said Mike Blatman with Tri-Cities Crime Stoppers. "They don't want to give their names, they don't want to call 911. They want to do it anonymously and that really is the major focal point of Crime Stoppers."

Crime Stoppers didn't come to the Tri-Cities until 1985. In fact, before Tri-Cities law enforcement even knew of Crime Stoppers' existence, the Kennewick Police Department has a similar system in place called TIPS.