Keeping Tips Anonymous
An anonymous tip means your name is not known or made public. When a tipster calls the Crime Stoppers tipsline, they are first given a code number and they are prompted not to disclose their identity at any time. The tipster then uses that same code number for all subsequent communication with Crime Stoppers. The program does not subscribe to call display anywhere in North America and the identity of the caller, beyond gender, is never known.
➤ you will not be required to reveal your name
➤ you will not have to make a police statement
➤ you will not appear or testify in court
➤ your call will not be recorded
➤ your call or online form will not be traced
In the Crime Stoppers file that is created, the caller is referred to as “the tipster” and not “he or she” which would then disclose the gender of the tipster to the law enforcement investigator. Should the caller share information with the tipsline operator that would compromise identity in any way, that information is removed from the file that goes to the law enforcement investigator. Information such as “I live close enough to see what’s going on” or “the suspect uses my phone to call their drug clients” is all removed by re-writing the summary of information. Through this method of screening and sanitizing the tip information, the caller can never, even accidentally, be recognized or identified by the nature of the content of the tip information. The tipster remains, in terms of identity, only a number and the tip remains 100% anonymous.
All information is computerized, securely protected by passwords and industry-standard encryption, and secured in a locked office accessible only to authorized Crime Stoppers personnel.
How can Crime Stoppers guarantee anonymity?
Crime Stoppers can offer anonymity to its tipsters because of a legal rule of evidence, which states law enforcement does not have to reveal information that might identify a person who supplies them with information concerning criminal activity.
In February 1997, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided that callers to Crime Stoppers programs were entitled to the protection of this privilege. In a typical case, which started from a Crime Stoppers tip, the identity of the informer is unknown to both the Crime Stoppers operator who took the call or online tip and the case investigator.
The Supreme Court went on to confirm that the privilege is so broad in scope it prevents disclosure not only of the name of the informer (even if it were to be known) but also of any information, which might implicitly reveal his or her identity. This is the premise behind the claim that “Crime Stoppers guarantees the tipster's anonymity” and has been upheld in many high-profile court cases to this day.
THE CRIME STOPPERS PROMISE OF ANONYMITY:
WHAT TIPSTERS NEED TO KNOW
By providing information that Crime Stoppers will share with law enforcement agencies, you are providing an important and valuable public service. We understand that disclosure of your identity might put you at significant risk. We do everything we can to protect your anonymity and safety. However, that anonymity may be open to challenge in the following situations:
- A call to Crime Stoppers made with the intention of “furthering criminal activity or interfering with the administration of justice”. A party who is guilty of a crime cannot use Crime Stoppers to try to divert the blame onto someone else. Crime Stoppers cannot be used to try to “frame” an innocent person.
- There is evidence that disclosure of some or all of a tip is necessary to establish someone’s innocence.
- A tipster having received the benefit of full legal advice may, for his or her own reasons, elect to waive the privilege.
For a fuller explanation of these principles, start by reading and understanding the 'Crime Stoppers Promise: What Tipsters Need to Know' and The Tipsters’ “Bill of Rights” on the Canadian Crime Stoppers website.
Important Tips for Callers:
- DO NOT tell anyone that you have called Crime Stoppers. This is the only way to truly remain anonymous.
- You will be issued a confidential code number. You must keep this number a secret to ensure anonymity; the number is your only means of identification if you qualify for a cash award.
- Your code number should be treated like your PIN on your bank card. Keep your code number where no one else will find it.
- If you chose to deal directly with law enforcement regarding the case you called Crime Stoppers about, you are no longer a part of the Crime Stoppers program and will not be eligible for awards (because you are no longer anonymous).
If the identity of one of our callers was made known it would destroy trust in Crime Stoppers and no one would contact us. This is another reason why it is so important to us that we can guarantee your anonymity.
The Crime Stoppers guarantee
Your anonymity is 100% guaranteed. We are not interested in who you are, only what you know - so the more details you give us the better! We really appreciate your time and help.
Our service is unique and designed to protect your identity, whether you call us at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), use our P3 Tips Mobile App, or submit via the P3 Tips anonymous online secure form.
- You will not be asked to reveal your name or any personal details.
- We will listen to any information you have on a crime.
- Your call will not be recorded.
- Your computer and mobile phone IP addresses and location will not be tracked or traced.
- We have no caller line display nor have never traced a call.
- Online and Mobile App tips have the same level of anonymity as phone calls.
- Our specially trained operators will support you through the process and make sure your tip contains no information that could identify you.
- We do not make a note of gender, accents, apparent age or ethnicity of any caller.
- If you provide personal information that could identify yourself, Crime Stoppers can not forward the information to the law enforcement agencies as your anonymity would be compromised. If the information can be vetted, we will pass the information to the relevant authority without revealing your identity.
- We don’t judge or shame you. We just listen to what you know and forward that information to law enforcement on your behalf.
The only person who knows you contacted us with information is you. And your information can make a real difference!
You will not have to get involved beyond providing us what you know:
- No revealing your name or personal details
- No police or law enforcement agencies to interact with
- No witness statements
- No courts, summons, lawsuits or subpoenas
- No retaliation or reprisal
How the award is determined and collected:
The investigation is completed, and results are reported to the agency’s Law Enforcement Coordinator.
The Law Enforcement Coordinator determines if an award will be paid to the Tipster and suggests the amount of award (often contingent on the quality of the tip information towards the overall investigation) to the local Crime Stoppers Chapter’s civilian Board of Directors. The Board then makes the final decision. Awards range from $100 - $2,000.
Tipsters are asked to call back or Follow-up on their online/mobile tip, whereby the tipster is advised whether the Board has recommended an award and is provided with instructions on how to receive their cash award.