Put simply, it is a three part approach to solving the crimes. Silent Observer relies on cooperation between the police, the media and the general community to provide a flow of information about crime and criminals.
Calls are received at a 24-hour Call Center, which specializes only in taking crime tips. Conversations are not recorded and personal information about the caller is never requested. Once the tip has been received locally from the call center, the information is reviewed by the local coordinator and then passed on to the agency of jurisdiction or unit best suited to investigate the tip. Calls are accepted regarding any publicized request for information, "Most Wanted", firearms and illegal drug violations, and other serious crimes.
By guaranteeing a caller's anonymity, Silent Observer allows the caller to give information in a positive atmosphere without fear of retaliation. By offering cash rewards for information leading to indictment or arrests, the program encourages otherwise reluctant callers to provide information.
Tipsters now have the option of reporting tips online. The process is completely secure and anonymous. Our WebTip process is powered by the world's leading online tip solution provider, Anderson Software.
The very unique integrated Two-Way Dialog software allows the tipster to come back and provide additional information to their tip at any time, but also provides a secure means for the coordinator to ask questions or provide reward information back to the tipster through the same encrypted interface.
"P3 Tips" is a new, free mobile app, available on the iOS and Android platforms, which greatly enhances the mobile tip submission process. Still completely anonymous, tips submitted through the P3 mobile app, unlike SMS text tips, have no length limitations and allow images, video, and documents to be uploaded with the tip. Anderson Software’s sophisticated encryption processes obscure any and all identifying information and provide assured anonymity for tipsters.
Structure and Funding of Crime Stoppers
The Silent Observer program is organized as not-for-profit organization (charity). A civilian community board of directors provides direction as to the financial and promotional activities of the program.
The Silent Observer program is funded by donations. There are no tax dollars levied for this program. The reward money paid out by the program is from fundraising, as well as the donations from concerned citizens, businesses and agencies/organizations.
Rewards are distributed in a private manner to the callers. Tipsters are eligible for rewards up to $1,000, but, despite this, many callers choose not to collect the reward.
Does Silent Observer Work?
The answer is simply, "Yes". Since the start of Silent Observer, thousands of calls have been received resulting in thousands of arrests and recovery of substantial amounts of property. Calls have included information about murder, robbery, rape, assaults, drug and firearm offenses.
The success of a Silent Observer program cannot be purely judged on statistics, however, other benefits have come to notice:
Silent Observer is definitely here to stay. It has been accepted by police as a valid and effective investigative tool and the public, through its overwhelming response, appears to have accepted it as a more palatable alternative to traditional methods of giving information.