Founded in 1983, Crime Stoppers has become a major bridge between the public and NYPD when it comes to solving crimes—especially cold cases—and on Thursday top police brass unveiled a tool that will help the department continue the 40-year tradition.
Top cop Keechant Sewell joined fellow police officials outside NYPD headquarters in celebration of Crime Stoppers and the unveiling of a new truck that will be used to ask for the public’s assistance by traveling to the scene of a crime and showcasing video footage or photographs of those wanted in connection with an incident.
“This is a model of how police-community partnerships make us all safer, and as a true representation of the responsibility we all share to achieve that safety,” Police Commissioner Sewell said. “Today, we are proud to unveil the latest innovation.”
The truck, which was donated by the New York Police Foundation, is equipped with an LED screen and will be able to download footage remotely, ensuring that information regarding a crime is broadcast to the impacted community as soon as possible. This newest model joins a fleet of two other trucks already in use by Crime Stoppers.
Crime Stoppers, which was taken over by the Police Foundation in 1985, operates from out of One Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan and has staff operating the phone lines 24/7.
According to Chief of Detectives James Essig, in 2022 NYPD received 1,155 tips regarding investigations and thus far this year received 331 tips. As of April 2023, more than $3 million in rewards have been issued. Essig also championed Crime Stoppers through which tips helped to apprehend notorious Brooklyn subway shooter Frank James.
“These tips and many others led to arrests of violent persons and have greatly aided detectives in their investigations. This new Crime Stoppers van will ensure detectives respond immediately to new incidents, return for follow-ups and get information out to the public to help us solve crime and keep our neighborhoods safe,” Essig said.
Inside the Crime Stoppers office on the 13th floor of police headquarters, members of the NYPD take anonymous calls from the public. To work within Crime Stoppers those within the department must have been a detective for at least 3 years and vet information that tipsters provide before passing it along to case investigators.
Sergeant Erica Rivera who works in the department explained that those who contact the tip line not only can provide the information anonymously but when calls are made the incoming phone numbers are displayed as “Unknown” while email addresses and IP addresses are also never captured or tracked.
“When they [the phone calls] come in we don’t have caller ID, we don’t record the calls. There’s a roving IP address on the website along with the app, so there’s no way for us to backtrack or even figure out where the call had come from. So that’s the way we guarantee their anonymity,” Rivera said, adding that callers are asked to ring back in the coming weeks to secure their reward.
Rewards are given upon the arrest and indictment of a criminal. The office also houses wanted sheets and flyers that are distributed in hopes of breaking cases.
Anyone with information in regard to a crime is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the Crime Stoppers website at crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, or on Twitter @NYPDTips.