INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Crime Stoppers receives many tips each day on different cases across central Indiana, including the disappearance of Angie Barlow.
The program is having a record-breaking year in the number of anonymous tips received, the number of people arrested, and the number of guns and drugs taken off the streets, according to the director.
We often see police urging people to call Crime Stoppers with any information that could lead to an arrest in unsolved cases, from the triple homicide on Forysthia Drive to the disappearance of Angie Barlow.
“Pretty much any case that had media attention, we’re going to get (a) minimum (of) five, ten tips on,” said Steven DuBois, who is the director of Crime Stoppers, “When you start getting into some of the ones that have continued on like this from October to now we will usually get continued month-in and month-out tips on them.”
DuBois told 24-Hour News 8 every tip is looked at very closely. So far this year Crime Stoppers has received 3,594 tips and that number is up by 339 compared to this time last year. In one month, tips from Crime Stoppers also led to the arrest of 53 people compared to an average of 20, according to data.
“It’s pretty phenomenal when you take a tip and sometimes you look at it like ‘wow there’s not much here,’ and then a week, two, a month goes by and the detective calls you back and says this is what broke it,” DuBois said.
He said the tips are reported anonymously and no one will ever know the identity of the tipster.
“Matter of fact my people here, if you tell them your name they will say hang up and we’ll let it roll over to the call center,” DuBois said.
There are three different ways for people to submit an anonymous tip; you call the hotline at 317-262-TIPS, use the website or the mobile app.
“We really don’t want to know our tipsters (personal) information and then, the mobile and the web apps, the software we use it’s state of the art,” DuBois explained. “It strips anything and everything electronically that could identify that person so we get nothing.”
DuBois said if a tip leads to an arrest, the tipster can receive a cash reward of up to $1,000, but often times that money goes unclaimed. 24-Hour News 8 learned the cash reward is handled through a third party. DuBois said 70-75% of people never collect their reward.
“I think it’s the part that they’re anonymous, they don’t want the money. They want the issue solved, they want this person in front of the judge in the justice system so it’s not the money,” he explained. “I think a lot of people think it’s the money why people call Crime Stoppers. It’s not, its that we keep people anonymous.”
DuBois said they are now hoping to reach more people through a different method.
“We’re looking at ways to get to people that may not be watching mainstream media or might not have the facility to have cable TV in their house or maybe TV in their house,” he said.
DuBois said they are thinking about installing mobile kiosks across central Indiana. Each kiosk will display information about wanted suspects, Amber alerts, and community events.
“We can remotely feed them with information, so as you’re standing at McDonald’s or you’re standing in line to pay for your gas or whatever, the kiosk will be there and things will be flashing up on it,” he said.
Crime Stoppers is planning to buy two kiosks to start. DuBois said right now the kiosks are currently being used in southern Indiana.
Click here to submit a a web tip.