New tip line offers anonymity and rewards

February 25, 2008 12:47:33 PM PST
Bay Area police agencies and businesses are joining forces to give you new tools to fight crime. Among them is a new tip line and financial rewards.

Bay Area law enforcement officers from all over are at the Ferry Building in San Francisco to launch this new addition to their crime fighting program.

Using a tip line is nothing new. However, this tip line can be used to call in a crime that happens anywhere in the Bay Area. Before this, you had to call in to the police department directly to leave a crime tip and leave your name. The appeal of this hotline is that it is anonymous.

The program is being funded by donations from businesses and is going to cost about $700,000 dollars a year and is run by Bay Area Crime Stoppers.

All of the calls that come through the hotline will go directly to a phone bank in Toronto, Canada and that information with be handed back to Bay Area police. This couldn't have come at a better time for cities such as Oakland. Just a few weeks ago, the city saw five shootings with three people killed. The officers say the anonymity of this hotline could definitely bring tips to help them solve crimes.

"It does allow for an anonymous factor for the caller. If we are not getting information, versus getting information anonymously, I'd go for the anonyms tip," says Lt. Chief Ed Medina, Richmond Police.

"People are afraid to report crimes. This mechanism allows them to do it with no fear of reprisal whatsoever," says Steve Buster, Bay Area Crime Stoppers.

If you have tips for police, the toll free number is 1-800-222-TIPS. The hotline is already up and running and you can use this number as far North as Solano County all the way to the South Bay. In addition to this, if your call helps the police solve a crime, it could get you up to $2,000 dollars in reward money.