Lesson Idea

Reporting Crimes To Crime Stoppers

Theme: Why Crime Stoppers Works
Relates to WACC: ACHCK050, ACHCK062, ACHCK078, ACHCK094, VCCCC036, VCCCG020, VCCCL022, VCCCL034

Many people may have witnessed criminal or suspicious behaviour, but think twice about reporting it to  police because they might know the person and fear possible come-backs or retaliation from friends or associates.  They may be uncertain of what else they might have to do such as appear in court to give evidence or identify a potential suspect.

Crime Stoppers removes many of those obstacles by providing an easy, safe and anonymous service for people to act in a socially responsible way by reporting crimes or suspicious behaviour.  It provides a vital link to get information from those who have it to those who need it, but without the evidence provider having to give their details. Crime Stoppers is a well-known and trusted organisation with the unique benefit of allowing people to remain anonymous.

When the Crime Stoppers concept was first created in 1976, the idea was to allow people to provide information without having to reveal their identity or contact details.  Potential witnesses may be reluctant to contact police, not wanting to have to provide further evidence, appear in court or face any reprisal or retribution from suspects, who may be known to them.  This successful Crime Stoppers concept is now used in 30 countries around the world.

When you contact Crime Stoppers you don’t have to leave your personal details and the call isn’t recorded, traced or identified in any way, so you can have peace of mind that you’ll remain anonymous. When completing an online report, you have the option of remaining completely anonymous or providing contact details, so either Crime Stoppers staff or a police investigator can follow up on any of the information you have provided.  The choice is yours.

Provide students with the Types of Crime Reported to Crime Stoppers information sheet and ask them to create a graph form of the information.  Once completed, discuss as a class why graphs are a useful way of displaying information.

What happens to the information provided?

Crime Stoppers records anonymous information about a crime or suspicious activity.

Information reports are then written from the details provided by members of the public. The reports are added to the Police intelligence database and where possible are checked against other available information to ensure any incorrect or possibly spiteful details aren’t included. Information reports contain keywords that can be brought to the attention of police officers who are investigating past crimes or new ones.

Apart from the personal satisfaction of knowing you’ve done the right thing, it’s important to remember that the information you have provided may lead to arrests or charges perhaps weeks or months later even if action isn’t taken immediately.

Provide students with the information above. Students complete a formative assessment on one of the following topics:

    • Making a report to Crime Stoppers vs making a report to Police – outline the difference between these processes
    • Using the Crime Stoppers ACT reporting process – explain the term ‘anonymity’
    • Explain how the information provided to the Police from Crime Stoppers is used

Success stories

Crime Stoppers, as a registered charity, partners with the community, State Government and the WA Police Force.  This partnership has led to many successful outcomes for police and community safety.  Students pick one of the NSW Crime Stoppers success stories and answer the following questions:

  • What category of crime was committed?
  • Why do you think that this was a difficult crime to solve?
  • How was evidence passed to the police crucial in solving this crime?

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