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Enhancing Citizen Participation and Solving Serious Crime: A National Evaluation of Crime Stoppers Programs

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1989
20 pages
"Crime Stoppers" has emerged as one of the most rapidly expanding and highly visible crime control strategies in the Western world, yet research on this program is extremely limited.
This article reports some of the major findings of a national evaluation funded by the National Institute of Justice. The evaluation adopted a variety of strategies and methodologies, including national surveys of media executives and Crime Stoppers program coordinators, case studies to understand program processes and effects, and a randomized experiment to examine the effects of varying reward sizes on callers' perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. Crime Stoppers is a very popular program that features the mass media in a pivotal and uniquely cooperative role with law enforcement and the community. Despite some impressive program statistics on felony arrests, convictions, and recovery of property and drugs, the impact of these interventions on community crime levels remains unknown. Furthermore, Crime Stoppers has been criticized by journalists, civil libertarians, and members of the legal profession for offering cash rewards and anonymity to encourage more citizen participation in the criminal justice system. 19 references, 6 tables. (Author abstract)

Date Published: January 1, 1989