Texas Crime Stoppers
Texas Crime Stoppers organizations are community-based partnerships formed by dedicated citizens, law enforcement and the media. They work together toward a common goal: the reduction of crime and the arrest and conviction of criminals and fugitives statewide. Local Crime Stoppers organizations are designed to serve as a vehicle for citizens to relay criminal information to law enforcement agencies while remaining anonymous. Since inception in 1981, Texas Crime Stoppers has grown from 8 certified organizations to approximately 150 certified community and campus organizations. These organizations are run by dedicated volunteers, making it a cost effective tool in preventing and solving crime.
Local Crime Stoppers organizations are designed to achieve citizen interest and involvement in three ways:
- Establishing reward systems that pay for information leading to the arrest or charges filed on persons involved in felonies, and
- Selecting an unsolved “Crime of the Week” featured by reenactment in nightly television news broadcasts, radio spots, and newspaper articles.
Certified Community Organizations
Comprised of a 15 to 25 member civilian board of directors, broadly representing the community, oversees general organizations operations and administers funds received through public contributions. The board may perform some or all of the following duties: set policy which creates and controls the organizations; raise funds to pay rewards and cover administrative costs; determine the amount and method of reward payments, and act as trustee of funds contributed by citizens, businesses, and service groups. Generally the treasurer is designated to make reward payments to informants.
A law enforcement officer is designated as coordinator by the participating law enforcement agency. The coordinator is responsible for overseeing day-to-day organizations operations and serves as liaison between the law enforcement agency, the board of directors, and the news media. Other law enforcement officers may be assigned to assist the coordinator with daily organizations operations.
A dramatic increase in crime and violence on our state’s university and public school campuses prompted forming campus Crime Stoppers organizations in an effort to empower the campus community to provide an alternative means to solve and reduce crime.
In reviewing school policy and speaking with respective administrators, security personnel, and school resource officers, we discovered, in numerous instances, that there was no formal method for students to report a crime to school administrators. Nor was there a certainty that an effort would be made to solve the reported crime, recover stolen property, or to apprehend the person(s) responsible for committing campus offenses.
Many parents, students, and school administrators are frustrated that crime or the threat of violence on campuses is diminishing the learning environment and are asking, “Can anything be done about this?” Often the response from the school is to check in the lost and found or to file a report with a law enforcement agency.
There are two ways a campus program can be established and operated in Texas:
- As an umbrella program (with bylaws) of an existing community Crime Stoppers program, preferably one that is certified by the Texas Crime Stoppers Advisory Council, or
- As an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation consistent with the above referenced law and certified by the Texas Crime Stoppers Advisory Council.
About Texas Crime Stoppers State Team
The Texas Crime Stoppers team at the Office of the Governor provides oversight and technical assistance to community and campus organizations; attends and facilitates council and committee meetings; manages Crime Stoppers Assistance Fund grants; plans and facilitates annual Crime Stoppers training courses and conferences; provides support to organizations; and helps to build unity across all organizations throughout the state through social media and communication initiatives.
About Texas Crime Stoppers Council
In the spring of 1981, the 67th Texas Legislature passed H.B. 1681 creating the Crime Stoppers Council within the Criminal Justice Division of the OOG to promote the establishment of local Crime Stoppers organizations throughout the state. The council consists of five members appointed by the governor to four-year terms. Since its inception, Texas Crime Stoppers has grown from eight certified organizations to nearly 150 certified organizations in operation today, serving in both communities and school campuses throughout Texas.
About Department of Public Safety Partnership and Organizations
In addition to their community and campus organizations across the state, the Texas Crime Stoppers team at the Office of the Governor has a partnership with the Texas Department of Public Safety “Most Wanted organizations.” This organizations identifies select fugitives and wanted sex offenders across Texas. Since 2014, the number of Texas DPS organizations in partnership with Texas Crime Stoppers has grown to include Texas Stash House Rewards Organizations, Texas Fallen Hero Rewards Organizations and Unique Incidents Reward offerings (i.e., I-35 rock throwing, Governor’s Mansion fire, etc.)