How Crime Stoppers Hotlines Encourage Summary Advice and Hurt Poor Defendants

Obviously, sharing information about a serious and violent crime, like the murder of the student who first motivated MacAleese, is not gossip, but Crime Stoppers seeks advice on a wide range of crimes. potentials. When I asked Cameron what types of offenses are reported most often, she didn’t cite murder or rape. “Off the top of my head, I think it’s drugs. And weapons. And everything that comes with drug trafficking, ”Cameron said. The first category on the tip form for Crime Stoppers of Houston is “Related to school and bullying”, And it asks a series of questions such as the note, the date, the description and a list of everyone involved. In the “Drugs” section, the first question is: “Does the suspect sell or use drugs? Or both?”

The national group’s reach, too, belies the idea that the focus is only on violent crime. Three instructional videos on national site show what happens if you call a tip; in each, the same middle-aged man answers the phone, while the voices of the “callers” are obscured. At the end of the video, the true identity of the actor playing the caller is revealed. In the first, what looks like a white woman turns out to be a middle-aged black man; in the second, an “Australian man” turns out to be a young woman. The goal is to convince the public that their identity will be completely obscured and that no one will know that they have denounced their neighbors. But the videos are also indicative of the type of crime they encourage people to report.

” It’s a beautiful neighbourhood ! The “white woman” moans after reporting suspected drug trafficking. The “Australian man” reports that his roommate “nabbed”, presumably for stealing small items. In the final video, a “male barfly” reports hearing another man talk about his escape from the police. The crime is not clear, but it is presumably serious. Yet when the “male barfly” turns out to be an attractive young lady, she turns to the alleged criminal and says flirtatiously, “Hi” – it is certainly not a good idea if you are engaging with a dangerous fugitive.

The concept of Crime Stoppers may seem outdated, especially when it comes to drug use. But the Houston chapter is very much up to date with recent developments. Mankarious, the CEO, and Andy Kahan, Director of Victim Services and Advocacy, lead powerful PRs, not only for the organization, but also for laws and policies, including vehement opposition to cash. . bail reform.

Mark M. Gagnon