CrimeStoppers was the idea of Greg MacAleese, a police officer in Albuquerque, NM who became frustrated with his town's rising crime rate and the public's fear of the grip of crime was having on his community. Knowing that something had to be done to change people's attitudes, he brought together a team of civic leaders, concerned citizens, the police department and media representatives to come up with a solution.
The answer targeted in on citizen involvement - motivating citizens by offering cash rewards for information while protecting their anonymity; and publicizing the program through a "Crime of the Week" aired on local radio and television stations and featured on the front page of newspapers each Monday.
Initially, the idea of a reward program met with some skepticism; but eventually, it was agreed to set up a reward fund with money raised from the general public instead of through tax dollars. After a shaky but steady start in 1976, CrimeStoppers in Albuquerque became a very successful program with many arrests and cases solved.
But it didn't stop there. Today, CrimeStoppers is an international network of thousands of citizens in more than 900 cities throughout the world who took it upon themselves to do something about crime in their community.
CrimeStoppers has proven that a community - police, the media and citizens - can do something to crack down on crime...and it pays.
How CrimeStoppers Began in Sangamon and Menard Counties
There was an organization called Anti Illicit Drugs in Society in Sangamon and Menard Counties (A.I.D.S.) that dealt with only drug problems. Several concerned citizens and the members of the A.I.D.S. decided to reorganize so they could deal with all kinds of crime This was done and CrimeStoppers of Sangamon and Menard Counties was born in September of 1983.
Officers were elected, by-laws were written and two loans were accepted for $500 each from the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Jaycees to go along with the $838.11 that was in the A.I.D.S. account. We were off and running.
Officer Alice Pickford was the first Coordinator. In October 1984, Officer Neil Williamson became the Coordinator. He remained the Coordinator when he left to become Sheriff of Sangamon County. Officer Brenda Thompson took over in July 1994 for five years.
The program has grown tremendously from those early days. The first year we took in 326 tips and paid 8 rewards totaling $2,550. Last year, 2014, we took in 719 tips that resulted in 93 arrests, and paid $22,700.
We have developed many partnerships in the communities over the years and enjoy working relationships with The State Journal Register, Fox 55-TV, TV-20 News, WCIA CBS Champaign-Springfield, AT&T Cable, WTAX, WDBR, WYMG, WMAY, WNNS, WCVS, WFMB, WQQL, WYXY and WQLZ. We are also supported by the newspapers in the small communities in Sangamon and Menard Counties. This is the key to involving citizens. We couldn't be successful without this support.
Crime Stoppers is a nonprofit organization, funded entirely by fundraisers and donations from citizens and civic organizations. We have developed several fundraisers that our supporters look forward to annually.
Fighting crime has never been so much fun...
We have many programs in place such as the Dumpster Program, ,and we are planning a Scholastic CrimeStoppers in the High Schools program.
CrimeStoppers has a 30-member Board of Directors who donate their time and talents to keep CrimeStoppers successful. The names and faces have changed over the years, but we seem to always have a waiting list of people who want to be part of this successful program. More information on the Crime Stoppers President can be found here.
We have become one of law enforcement's best tools for solving crimes. We look forward to many more challenges and success stories.