“Crime Stoppers” is a household name but many do not understand the program, the rewards process, and the anonymity guarantee.  We have attempted here to answer the questions we are most frequently asked.

 

What is Crime Stoppers?

Put simply, Crime Stoppers is a three-part approach to addressing the crime problem.  Crime Stoppers relies on cooperation between law enforcement, the media, and the public to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals.

 

Where/When did Crime Stoppers begin?

In 1976, Crime Stoppers, as we know it today, did not exist and it appeared that an Albuquerque, New Mexico gas station robbery and murder in would go unsolved. Albuquerque’s residences feared becoming a victim if they helped law enforcement so, to overcome that fear, Detective Greg MacAleese produced a video re-enactment of the crime, promised anonymity for anyone who called with information, and offered a reward.  His plan worked. MacAleese received information that led to the arrest the two men responsible for the murder and several other robberies.  Following the re-enactment, MacAleese received calls regarding other crimes, including one call that helped solve a rape.  Seeing the benefit to the community of continuing such a program, MacAleese, a group of citizens, and Albuquerque Police Department established the first Crime Stoppers program. 

Modeled after Albuquerque’s program, Crime Stoppers of Lufkin began in 1982 from the efforts of Lufkin City Council and Lufkin Police Department, and the Program now operates as an independent, non-profit organization serving the Deep East Texas area.

The use of a centralized website and tip-taking resources for the Deep East Texas region began January 2015.

 

What is the difference between Crime Stoppers of Lufkin and other Crime Stoppers programs?

All Crime Stoppers programs are independently operated with each program serving a specific area. 

When founded, Crime Stoppers of Lufkin served Angelina County but, over time, the program received an increasing number of requests to assist law enforcement agencies from counties surrounding Angelina County.  Some of those requests came from agencies not served by another Crime Stoppers program and other came from agencies working to solve crimes and find criminals that crossed county lines.

To better respond to the out-of-county requests, the Crime Stoppers of Lufkin Board of Directors authorized the development of a centralized website and tip-taking resources for the Deep East Texas region.  The result is a website under the Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers name (www.639TIPS.com) name and a Tipline (936-639-TIPS) for the Deep East Texas area.

 

Who runs Crime Stoppers of Lufkin and Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers?

Crime Stoppers of Lufkin is a not-for-profit organization (a charity) with a Board of Directors, which is comprised of citizens from the East Texas area, providing direction as to the financial and promotional activities of the Program.  In 2014, the Board of Directors appointed an executive director to manage the day-to-day operations and expansion of the Program but the Board of Directors controls the Program, determines all reward payments, and is vital to the Program’s success.

The executive director for Crime Stoppers of Lufkin operates the Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers website and Tipline service.  Crime Stoppers programs and law enforcement agencies throughout the Deep East Texas region contribute to and participate in the centralized website and tip-taking resources hosted by Crime Stoppers of Lufkin.

Tips received through Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers' centralized website and tip-taking resources will be directed to the appropriate Crime Stoppers program or directly to the investigating law enforcement agency.  Rewards, when authorized, will be handle by and in accordance with the policies of the Crime Stoppers program handling the tip.

 

What counties are covered by Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers?

Angelina County sits near the center of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments region (Angelina, Houston, Jasper, Nacogdoches, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity, and Tyler counties).  A local Crime Stoppers program does not serve some of those counties and some of the Crime Stoppers programs serving those counties see the benefit of consolidating the crime solving and crime prevention efforts.  The Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers website and Tipline service are intended to serve the citizens and law enforcement agencies within any of those counties. 

 

Is Crime Stoppers a law enforcement agency or part of law enforcement?

No, Crime Stoppers is a private, non-profit organization that receives no tax dollars for its work.  Crime Stoppers assists law enforcement officers and agencies but is not part of law enforcement.

 

How are tips submitted and how do they remain anonymous?

Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers accepts tips by telephone (936-639-TIPS) and online (www.639TIPS.com).  As long as the published Tipline telephone number or website address are used, tips are passed through a software program that masks all sender information.  A randomized report number is assigned to each tip so the tipster’s identity is never known to Crime Stoppers or any law enforcement officer/investigator involved in the case.

When Tipsters communicate with Crime Stoppers, following the initial tip submission, whether to provide additional information, check the status of the investigation, or learn if a reward has been authorized, they must use the report number assigned to their tip.  Because the process is anonymous, the report number is the only way for Crime Stoppers to locate the tip and provide an update to the Tipster.

Anonymity is not Crime Stoppers’ promise -- IT IS THE LAW.  In Texas, a person, including a law enforcement officer, may commit a crime if the person intentionally or knowingly divulges the identity of a Crime Stoppers Tipster.  Crime Stoppers needs the information you have regarding crimes and criminals, not your name.  To further ensure a tipster’s identity is never known, CRIME STOPPERS PAYS REWARDS ONLY FOR ANONYMOUS TIPS; tipsters who identify themselves are not eligible for payment.

The importance of anonymity cannot be overemphasized.  You will be anonymous unless YOU tell someone that you submitted a Crime Stoppers Tip.

Tips received through Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers' centralized website and tip-taking resources will be directed to the appropriate Crime Stoppers program or directly to the investigating law enforcement agency.  Rewards, when authorized, will be handle by and in accordance with the policies of the Crime Stoppers program handling the tip.

 

How does Crime Stoppers pay a reward to an anonymous person?

If the tip information leads to an arrest or grand jury indictment of a felony offender, or the recovery or seizure of stolen property or illegal narcotics, the Crime Stoppers Board of Directors may authorize a reward.

If a reward is authorized, the Tipster must contact Crime Stoppers to collect the reward and must provide their tip report number (a randomized report number is assigned to each tip so the tipster’s identity is never known to anyone involved in the case) in order to receive instructions on retrieving the reward.  To ensure that Tipsters remain anonymous, rewards are paid in cash and Tipsters use only their tip report number to identify them as the Tipster.  Specific details about the reward payment procedure are not publicly release for fear of weakening security and because the process changes throughout the year.

As with the Tip submission process, YOU telling someone is the only way anyone will know that you claimed a Crime Stoppers Reward.

Tips received through Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers' centralized website and tip-taking resources will be directed to the appropriate Crime Stoppers program or directly to the investigating law enforcement agency.  Rewards, when authorized, will be handle by and in accordance with the policies of the Crime Stoppers program handling the tip.

 

How much are rewards?

Rewards range from $25 to $1,000, and are based on a point system that considers several factors, including; the type of crime solved, the number of crimes solved, the number of persons arrested, and the value of any recovered property or seized narcotics.  The Board of Directors for the Crime Stoppers program handling the tip must authorize every reward.

While Crime Stoppers focuses on felony crimes and fugitive felons, and offers rewards for information that solves such crimes, the Board of Directors may, by majority vote, authorize payment of a reward for non-felony crimes.  Rewards, when authorized, will be handle by and in accordance with the policies of the Crime Stoppers program handling the tip.

Regardless of the size of the reward offered, many tipsters choose not to collect their rewards.  These tipsters see Crime Stoppers as a means of helping solve crimes without becoming directly involved and do not wish to be rewarded for their efforts.

 

Why do some tips get paid a reward and other tips do not?

CRIME STOPPERS PAYS REWARDS ONLY FOR ANONYMOUS TIPS; tipsters who identify themselves are not eligible for payment.  The Board of Directors for the Crime Stoppers program handling the tip determines which tips are rewarded and the dollar amount of each reward. The Board of Directors authorizes rewards only for tips that result in an arrest or grand jury indictment, or the recovery or seizure of stolen property or illegal narcotics.  Often, multiple tipsters possess the same information and Crime Stoppers receives multiple tips containing the same or similar information.  When the Crime Stoppers of Lufkin Board of Directors authorizes a reward in such instances, the reward is paid to the first, most accurate tip received.

 

What does Crime Stoppers mean by “the first, most accurate tip received”?

When Crime Stoppers requests public assistance in solving a crime, such as the Crime of the Week, or finding a wanted person, the information is presented to the public in many forms, including through TV spots, newspaper articles, social media posts, websites, and radio broadcasts.  Therefore, over a period of several days, thousands of people learn of the request for assistance and many of those people possess the same information concerning the crime or the wanted persons.

When Crime Stoppers receives multiple tips containing the same or similar information, all of the tips are directed to the investigator responsible for the case and the investigator assists the Board of Directors in determining which tip or tips provided the most accurate information.

If two or more tips provide the same case-solving information, such as “John Doe is the person in the Crime of the Week video and he lives at 123 Any Street in Lufkin”, the tip that was received first will be considered for a reward.  If the first tip received provides accurate but less detailed information, such as “the person in the video looks similar to a man who lives on Any Street in Lufkin”, and the second tip received provides accurate information with many details, such as “John Doe is the person in the Crime of the Week video and he lives at 123 Any Street in Lufkin”, the second, more detailed tip will be considered for a reward.

 

How is Crime Stoppers funded?

Crime Stoppers of Lufkin is a 501(c)(3) organization and depends on financial support from individuals, businesses, and foundations within our community.  Grants, private donations, and fundraising support the operation of the Program and the Program’s operation of Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers. The City of Lufkin and Lufkin Police Department host the Program’s executive director position, and fees paid by convicted offenders placed on community supervision (i.e.; probation) are used to pay rewards — rewards paid for information that helps identify and capture criminals comes from the fees paid by criminals.  Additionally, a judge may order a convicted offender to repay Crime Stoppers for a reward paid for information the led to the offender’s capture.

 

How can I help?

Donations are always needed.  Credit Card donations can be made by clicking the "Donate" button below and checks can be mailed to Crime Stoppers of Lufkin, Inc., PO Box 456, Lufkin, Texas 75901-0456.  

You also can "donate" Amazon's money to Crime Stoppers.  Through AmazonSmile, you shop and Amazon gives to Crime Stoppers.  AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know -- Same products, same prices, same service -- but Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to Crime Stoppers of Lufkin.  Support Crime Stoppers by starting your shopping at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/75-1845003

To learn more about us, call Detective JB Smith, Executive Director, at 936-630-0504 to arrange a presentation for your business or organization.

 

How can an individual or business obtain Crime Stoppers assistance in solving a crime?

While Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers focuses on felony crimes and fugitive felons, and offers rewards for information that solves such crimes, the Program’s executive director may elect to profile any crime regarding which law enforcement is seeking information.  An individual or a business may contact the investigating law enforcement agency and request that the agency seek Crime Stoppers’ assistance or the individual/business may contact the Program’s executive director, Detective JB Smith, at 936-630-0504 and request that he contact the investigating law enforcement agency.  Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers will not profile a crime that has not yet been reported to law enforcement, nor will Deep East Texas Crime Stoppers profile a crime when the investigating law enforcement agency requests that Crime Stoppers not become involved.