Frequently Asked Questions
Q- What is Crime Stoppers?
Crime Stoppers is a registered charitable organization that takes calls from individuals who want to report information about a crime and wish to remain totally anonymous. Crime Stoppers is one way that citizens can assist law enforcement by providing information and never having to identify themselves or testify in court.
Q- How does Crime Stoppers work?
Crime Stoppers can take your anonymous information three ways:
TALK to our trained information takers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or 705-942-7867
TYPE your information into our secure on-line tip submission form.
TAP your information through the new P3 App which can be found in Google Play or your Apple Store!
Your anonymous information is then passed along to the investigators at the appropriate law enforcement agency (RCMP, Municipal or Regional Police Force, Department of Natural Resources, or Fisheries and Oceans Canada). The “TIPSTER” (that’s you) is never identified but is assigned a code number. The tip is investigated. The police will inform Crime Stoppers on how the case is progressing so it is important for the TIPSTER to call back for an update on the case during regular business hours (a number will be provided for you to call back).
Q- What does Crime Stoppers want to know?
Crime Stoppers wants your information not your name. You will be asked questions about the information you are giving us – but you will not be asked your name, address, or anything that will allow us to identify you.
Our call operators are not allowed to let the police know anything about you which may reveal your identity, e.g. if the call is about a neighbour of yours we will not disclose this. We don’t even make a note of your gender.
Crime Stoppers wants to do the best, but we need as much information as possible from you in order to pass useful data onto law enforcement. This means our Tipsline operators will ask you questions about what you know. This helps check that your information can be acted upon by law enforcement – the more details they have, the more likely they will be able to take action. NEVER put yourself at risk, or abuse a position of trust to discover information about crime or criminals.
Q- What if the caller is the victim?
If the caller is a victim, they must report the crime to the police or a “Victim Services” program. A victim cannot report a crime to Crime Stoppers because they would be identified by the information and therefore lose their anonymity.
Q- What type of calls does Crime Stoppers take?
Crime Stoppers takes tips about crimes that have already been committed or are about to occur. Crime Stoppers also takes information regarding the whereabouts of wanted persons, stolen property, narcotics, or any other criminal activity. If you’re not sure that what you saw or heard is really a crime, call anyway. Let law enforcement decide if it’s worth investigating. It may be the missing piece of the puzzle or clue to a big crime.
Q- What type of questions will I be asked?
This will obviously depend on the crime and what you know. Many of our calls are drug-related – for example, these are some of the questions you may be asked.
- Where are the drugs being sold?
- What makes you think they are being sold there?
- Do you know how much they are being sold for?
- When is the location the busiest?
- Is there any system used by which the dealer lets it know that they are ‘open for business’ e.g. a bedroom light on?
- Where do they keep the drugs?
- Does the dealer come out of the house to meet people?
- Do you know any of the hiding places for the drugs, in a shed / car etc?
- Are there regular cars pulling up, and do you know the license plate numbers?
- Do you know when supplies arrive? This may lead to a supplier further up the chain.
Q- What if I have information about driving offences?
Information about driving offences includes: speeding, driving while on the phone, not wearing a seatbelt and careless/dangerous driving. The police need sworn witness testimony to pursue these offences so reports must be made directly to them.
Q- What happens to my information after I provide it?
After you give us your information, we create a report that brings together all the information you provided. Our trained information takers will check to make sure that the report contains no information that might identify you.
The report is sent to the relevant authority who will deal with the information. They have the legal responsibility to investigate the information prior to acting on it to ensure the information is correct and not given to us maliciously in order to set someone up. The police cannot get a search warrant or make an arrest based solely on a tip; there must be other intelligence to support the Crime Stoppers information.
Q- Nothing happened after I called Crime Stoppers; why?
It may take some time before the police act on the information you have given. There could be many reasons for that; the information may be part of a larger investigation and visible action might be delayed for some time or the information may remain on file to be used at a later time. Even if your information appears not to have been used or if you don’t see a quick resolution, don’t think your information was not useful.
Feel free to call back at any time to add or update information or to just check on the status of your tip. Make sure you give your personal code when you call; otherwise Crime Stoppers will not give you any information about your tip.
Q- What happens after I’ve said all I know?
This information is then handed over to either the police, Department of Natural Resources, or Fisheries & Oceans Canada (DFO) for further investigation. They are the only sworn officials who can investigate crimes and arrest and charge people, in order to bring them to justice.
Law Enforcement agencies cannot get a search warrant or make an arrest based solely on anonymous information – they have to thoroughly research the information you give us in order to act on it. There needs to be other intelligence that supports Crime Stoppers’ information. The research they do on Crime Stoppers’ information means they can use it with confidence. This ensures that information is correct and not given to us maliciously in order to set someone up.
Q- Does Crime Stoppers have call display or call trace on their telephones or have access to my IP address?
Crime Stoppers does not have call display or call trace on any of its telephones nor do we record any calls and your IP address in not available to us. That would be in direct contradiction to one of the cornerstones of the Crime Stoppers program – anonymity. Crime Stoppers guarantees that you will remain anonymous no matter how you provide us your information. If we subscribed to call display or call trace that guarantee of anonymity would be gone and the program would suffer serious consequences.
Q- Is Crime Stoppers run by the police?
Crime Stoppers is not run by the police. We are separate and apart from any Law Enforcement Agency. Crime Stoppers of Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District is a Registered Charity run by volunteers from the community.
Q- How can you guarantee anonymity?
Crime Stoppers can offer anonymity to its callers because of a legal rule of evidence, which says police do not have to reveal information which might identify a person who supplies them with information concerning criminal activity. In February of 1997 the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided that callers to Crime Stoppers programs were entitled to the protection of this privilege. In a typical case which started from a Crime Stoppers tip, the identity of the informer is unknown to both the Crime Stoppers Coordinator who took the call or internet tip, and the case investigator. The Supreme Court went on to confirm that the privilege is so broad in scope it prevents disclosure not only of the name of the informer (even if it were it to be known) but also of any information which might implicitly reveal his or her identity. This is the premise behind the claim that “Crime Stoppers guarantees the tipster’s anonymity.”
Q- How do I collect my award?
If the information is good and law enforcement uses the information to help solve a crime, you may be eligible for an reward of up to $2,000. An reward must be recommended and approved by the Board of Directors of a local Crime Stoppers chapter. Once the award is approved, arrangements are made for the caller to pick up their cash award in a way that is secure.