ANDERSON – Central Indiana Crime Stoppers takes over from Anderson-Madison County Crime Stoppers.
The civilian-run nonprofit is working with local businesses in central Indiana to provide the community with a safe and anonymous way to send tips to law enforcement. Areas covered extend from Kokomo to Bloomington and now Anderson and surrounding Madison County.
The service, which began as a “prison whistleblower line” in the 1980s, offers citizens three ways to submit tips: a 24/7 hotline, a mobile app or a website. According to Central Indiana Crime Stoppers director Daniel Rosenberg, the organization uses Canadian servers to ensure whistleblowers remain anonymous. This is due to Canada’s stricter anonymous tipping laws. He stressed the importance of anonymity while referring to a growing lack of trust in law enforcement.
“We’re kind of in a time and space where people are not very comfortable participating in public safety,” Rosenberg said. “We want people to feel that if they give information, law enforcement will verify it, but we will ensure that everything remains anonymous.”
Kendale Adams, deputy police chief and chief of investigations for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said services like these go a long way in helping law enforcement close cases.
“It’s a tool that I don’t think the community should be without,” he said.
Adams pointed to the fact that the organization is separate from law enforcement and said he’s glad that’s the case.
“This anonymous and independent option helps build trust with law enforcement,” Adams said. “A lot of people want to help, but they don’t want to be on the affidavit or they’re generally suspicious of the police.”
Even tips that lead to rewards remain anonymous thanks to relationships with several central Indiana banks.
Those who receive rewards use an anonymous ID number, password and code name. They are then directed to a specific bank where the money will be rewarded. Money is capped at $1,000 to ensure that no tax forms could potentially identify tips.
According to Rosenberg, Central Indiana Crime Stoppers receives about 32,000 tips a year from local communities.
“There have been numerous arrests due to tips through Crime Stoppers,” said Dale Needleman, chairman of the board of Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana.
For Needleman, having resources like these is important.
“We want to make sure the program stays alive and kicking so people always have a high-quality, anonymous tip line,” he said. “We are incredibly excited to take over and continue to provide this great service for Madison County.”
Indiana Central Crime Stoppers will take over on July 1.