Here’s how it works and how to stay anonymous

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) — With gun violence at an all-time high, it’s important that everyone does their part to stop it. For many citizens, this means reporting when you see or hear of crime in your community.

It’s easy to report a crime anonymously from anywhere using the P3 Tips app or by calling 414-224-TIPS.

However, if you’ve never done it before, it can be daunting. CBS 58 wants to make sure you know exactly how Milwaukee Crime Stoppers works.

Crime Stoppers is an international organization with chapters in cities around the world. It’s been around for nearly 50 years, and during that time the program has helped resolve more than 1.2 million cases in the United States by giving people a way to report tips without anyone knowing who they are.

“We’ve put about 800,000 bad guys in jail. During that time, we’ve paid out over $117 million in rewards. Not everyone calls back for a reward. People don’t want the police coming to your house,” said Wisconsin State Crime Stoppers. President K Scott Abrams.

In October 2019, a group of concerned citizens officially formed one in Milwaukee.

One such person was Wisconsin State Crime Stoppers President K Scott Abrams.

“It is your civic responsibility to report information about crimes and criminals,” Abrams said. “Rather, we’re offering the ability to do it anonymously. It’s not snooping. It helps your community become more and more secure.”

Abrams is the current Treasurer of the Milwaukee Crime Stoppers Board and has been involved with the Crime Stoppers organization for over 40 years.

CBS 58’s Amanda Porterfield: “How can you ensure that when people call, their call is anonymous and they can talk about their lives without ever being contacted by the police or showing up in court?”

Abrams: “The only reason Crime Stoppers exists is to provide that anonymity. It’s our promise to the community that we will never identify those involved because we don’t know who you are.”

This is how it works. You pick up the phone and dial 414-224 8477, or download and use the P3 Tips app.

When you dial or use the app, your phone number is scrambled, so when the call center answers, they have no idea who you are.

“That information is provided to a call center, someone who is trained to take information about a crime,” Abrams said.

You provide your tip to the person online or in chat, and then they give you a tip code number.

“We give them a tip number, it’s the only way we can identify them. Nothing to do with their name, nothing to do with their address, it’s just a tip number that will be used in round trips with which tipster and in the payment of that reward,” Abrams said.

You keep that tip number, then you have to call back a few weeks later and provide that tip number to see if the crime you called for has been solved.

“Milwaukee Crime Stoppers phone number, we don’t have caller ID on it. It’s just a phone number. A blank phone with a few buttons. When we get things off our internet, everything is cleaned up. We don’t want the name. We just want your information,” Abrams said.

CBS 58’s Amanda Porterfield: “Has anyone figured out their identity yet?

Abrams: “No. Not through a Crime Stoppers tip. Reporting a crime, no.”

Once you have provided the tip, the information is forwarded to the police department. Detectives use this information to solve the case.

CBS 58 sat down with Milwaukee Police Department Chief Jeffrey Norman.

“These particular tips shorten the time it takes to find out who is involved, help us identify potential witnesses and potential suspects, and also help move forward the conviction and prosecution of these individuals,” Chief Norman said.

CBS 58’s Amanda Porterfield: “Do you think Milwaukee Crime Stoppers is an asset to the community?”

MPD Chief Norman: “Absolutely. We see and continue to see many success stories in terms of our helping to bring fugitives into custody. are guided by information and through that guidance there is the result of a reward.”

Once the tip has helped investigators make an arrest, they notify the board.

Based on the details of the deal and the level of detail of the tip, this helps the tip to decide how much reward the tipster receives. But again, the only way to know if you’ll get a reward is to call back with that tip number. Crime Stoppers cannot contact you.

If your tip has solved a case, the person on the phone will tell you the secret location where you can withdraw your money.

CBS 58’s Amanda Porterfield: “Another question I get is, ‘Won’t they find out my identity when I get my money back? Again, via tip number? “”

Abrams: “When they go to pick up their reward, they just give out this tip number, the envelope is given to the individual, all in cash.

CBS 58’s Amanda Porterfield: “And there’s no cameras watching these people, are there?”

Abrams: “No.”

Since 2019, Information about Milwaukee Crime Stoppers have made arrests in five homicides, solved more than 40 crimes to date, and rewarded anonymous community members with more than $13,000.

However, with the violence we have seen, there is still a lot of work to be done — with your help.

“Sometimes we’re the best unknown secret in the community. We want to get that word out to everyone so they know what it is,” Abrams said.

Mark M. Gagnon