Problem with NY Crime Stoppers

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If you live in New York, you are familiar with NYPD Crime Stoppers and how they work with the public to solve unsolved crimes by offering up a reward for any helpful information that could give police enforcement any leads. Over 800,000 arrests have been made, 14,000 homicides solved, and over a million cases cleared all with the help of Crime Stoppers, but at what cost?


At first glance, the concept of Crime Stoppers is essential to help streets become safer for everyone. The public aiding law enforcement with unsolved cases without risking their safety as part of their civic duty has now turned into more and more of the public wanting payouts. Even go as far as providing false information as an act of revenge due to Crime Stoppers having no way to fact-check information beforehand but simply receiving it and sending it out for law enforcement to investigate further.


According to Crime Stoppers, “The Call Taker will ask questions about the suspect and the crime, complete the report, and then pass the information to the police for their investigation. Callers are given a report number and encouraged to call or write back if they obtain further details that could assist the police investigation. The more details the tipster can provide about the suspect, the crime, and information to support the allegation, the more the police have to work from.” Assuming law enforcement will sort out all the information from false tips to get to the right lead can lead to false arrests and wrongful convictions, a considerable societal problem.


“An estimated 2 to 10 percent of all convictions are wrongful… it amounts to between 46,000 and 230,000 innocent people behind bars,” while Black individuals are more likely to be wrongfully convicted than white individuals, there is no step to ensure fewer wrongful convictions happen. The premise behind Crime Stoppers is to get criminals off the street but instead, add to the “own racial bias” that is still present in our society still.


Even with how much good Crime Stoppers is trying to accomplish, if not done right can be extremely harmful in the future, all in the name of trying to get a reward for providing information, whether it’s true or not. Aware of the fact that more Black people, specifically men, are wrongfully convicted due to many things, including inaccurate tips.