CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — There’s a new way to learn about how to share tips about crimes without the risk of revealing your identity.
Champaign County Crime Stoppers installed an informational electronic kiosk near the library at Parkland College. They’re hoping this will encourage more people to share information that could help to convict criminals.
The kiosk has a screen that rotates information on wanted subjects, unsolved crimes, and crime prevention tips. Crime Stoppers’ motto has always been “if you see something, say something.” Many crimes have been solved because people gave information anonymously. This is a different way to let people know how to do that.
Champaign County Crime Stoppers Vice President Dawn Coyne-Tremble says, “We’d love for this to bring more awareness to our program and that it is anonymous. That’s one of the uphill battles we fight all the time, that we are anonymous and people don’t necessarily truly believe that.”
Crime Stoppers allows people to give information about crimes without revealing who they are or connecting them to the tips they share. Tremble says, “We want to catch criminals and we want to make sure people remain anonymous.”
Nothing, including your name or phone number, will ever be traced back to you. This kiosk is here to encourage people about Crime Stoppers’ mission and the cash reward incentive given in exchange for helpful information.
Tremble says, “You can turn people in anonymously. You never have to give your name or testify in court and you get a cash reward at the end of it if you want.”
Crime Stoppers Hotline – 217-373-TIPS (8477) All calls to this phone line are electronically scrubbed of all caller ID information and answered by a professional answering service (NOT the police). Callers are eligible for rewards up to $1,000, but many tipsters choose not to collect their rewards.
Crime Stoppers is testing out this technology, hoping it will make more people aware of the program. Each machine costs about $4,000. The one at Parkland College was paid for by a grant from the Champaign Rotary. The club’s president Janet Ellis-Nelson says, “We hope that more people step up and report crimes they’ve seen and that police will be able to follow through and convict people that are guilty of these crimes.”
Crime Stoppers has applied for another grant to install four more of these kiosks throughout Champaign County. Businesses are also able to sponsor these kiosks and put them in their buildings.