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PSA: How Crime Stoppers keeps your information anonymous and rewards you for tips

Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama is a valuable service that allows community members to report crime tips anonymously and receive a cash reward when those tips help solve a felony case.

More than $1 million in rewards have been distributed since the inception of Crime Stoppers locally. Tips reported to Crime Stoppers have helped solve countless crimes, including high-profile cases.

According to Frank Barefield, president of Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama, tipsters can rest assured that their information is anonymous because even the people reviewing the tips do not know your identity.

“We can’t see the phone number, so we have no idea who is calling so they’re totally anonymous and the tip is provided to the person who answers the phone and we decide which law enforcement agency to provide that tip to,” Barefield said.

BPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Rodarius Mauldin recently interviewed Barefield in detail about how the service works. Some people who have valuable information are afraid to report it because they do not want to be called to court to testify or have their identity exposed.

Barefield said that simply cannot happen through Crime Stoppers.

“We have no way to see anyone’s phone number, anyone’s ID or email address or any way to contact them, we have no way to access that information,” Barefield said. “We’ve actually had several defense attorneys try to subpoena that information in the past. They can look all they want but we don’t have that information. It’s not here.”

Sgt. Mauldin then asked: “So there is a guarantee that if you provide a tip to Crime Stoppers, you will not be summoned to testify?”

“That is correct,” Barefield responded.

Sgt. Mauldin also inquired about how cash rewards are calculated.

“If it were something like a five person homicide, we’d be paying $5,000 dollars,” Barefield said. “It is a stratification of the various crimes that we have come up with and it depends on the severity of the crimes.”

After you report a tip to Crime Stoppers, you are given a random, personalized number. Since Crime Stoppers does not have a way to call you back, that is the number you will use to keep track of your tip and follow up with Crime Stoppers to learn whether your tip actually helped solve a felony case and what your reward would be.

If you are eligible for a reward, you will then be given information on how to collect your cash.