Crime Stoppers is one of Memphis' most successful crime fighting tools. Last year it produced more than one arrest a day, cleared hundreds of cases, and led to the return of nearly $900,000 dollars worth of stolen property.
"Since its inception in 1981, Crime Stoppers has solved over 50 percent of the mystery murders in Memphis through information given to Crime Stoppers." says Captain Jesse Richardson with the Memphis Police Department. All that success comes from the cash part of 528-CASH. Awards grew last year to nearly $95,000 dollars paid to tipsters who reported a felony such as murder, rape, or burglary. The Crime Stoppers board decides how much to pay for each case. The money comes from grants and donations from citizens.
Similar programs like the one in Obion County in Northwest Tennessee feature pictures of suspects. For now, Memphis police say they want to stay with the 528-CASH tip line so they can assure callers no one will be able to know they called. "You don't have to worry about any of our calls having caller ID. We don't have that here. Anonymity is what we stress so often. We tell people all the time all of our calls are confidential." says Richardson. You don't tell your name when you call. You just give your tip and receive an ID number. You use that number to call back later and find out if you're getting an award."