Cayman Crime Stoppers is trying to determine how well its message is getting out to the general public.
“A lot of people just kind of forget [Crime Stoppers] is there,” said organization chairman Malcolm Ellis.
The organization has been in the news recently with the offer of a reward for information in the January robbery and beating of an elderly tourist in North Side. Mr. Ellis said callers will not be asked to identify themselves, only to provide information. Cayman Crime Stoppers is facilitating a reward of up to $8,000 for information leading to the recovery of stolen property and information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the Jan. 11 robbery.
However, large reward offers in cases of serious crime occur only rarely in Cayman and over the past several years, relatively few calls have come into the Cayman Crime Stoppers tip line, 800-8477 (TIPS). The phone line is monitored from an off island location in the U.S. and callers who phone in with information about local crimes are given a number to help keep track of their report.
Mr. Ellis said the organization’s ultimate goal is to garner greater name recognition in the community, thereby prompting more calls to the service. He said a survey, both online and in printed format will be distributed in the coming months to determine how many people know about Crime Stoppers.
“It’s basically a public awareness survey,” he said.
One component of the survey is trying to gather information from students within the public and private schools in Cayman. Crime Stoppers has been keen for several years to “make a connection” with the younger people on Cayman, Mr. Ellis said, where recognition of Crime Stoppers activities appears to be little or none.
Calling Crime Stoppers
When someone calls 800-8477 (TIPS) the person speaking to them on the other end of the line is a trained police officer, officials said. They will take down any information provided and ask questions about the case, but they never ask anything that could identify the person.
At the end of the call, the person is given a code number that they can use to track progress in their case.
After receiving the information, the call taker sends it to a law enforcement officer in the Cayman Islands who serves as the Crime Stoppers coordinator. It is that officer’s responsibility to disseminate the information to the appropriate agency and update the case file for review by the call center.
If the call leads to an arrest and conviction of a suspect or the recovery of a firearm or drugs, the caller can be eligible for a reward. However, that caller must take the initiative to pursue the cash since Crime Stoppers has no way of contacting them.
The Crime Stoppers board of directors must also consider each reward individually and whether a tip call warrants payment. If that decision is made, the tipster can then call back the 800-8477 number to collect.