As those delicious morsels behind grocery store windows grow increasingly unaffordable, citizens become more willing to report their law-breaking neighbors to Crime Stoppers in exchange for rewards ranging from $50-$1,000. “Two or three arrests per week, you could make $700, $750 per week,” Sergeant Selfsaid. “You could make better than a minimum-wage job.”
“For this year, everyone that’s called has pretty much been just looking for money,” said Sgt. Lawrence Beller, who answers Crime Stoppers calls at the Sussex County, N.J., sheriff’s office. “That’s as opposed to the last couple of years, where some people were just sick of the crime and wanting to do something about it.”
As a result, many programs report a substantial increase in Crime Stopper-related arrests and recovered property, as callers turn in neighbors, grandchildren or former boyfriends in exchange for a little cash.
On Friday, a woman called the Regional Crime Stoppers line in Macon, Ga., to find out when she could pick up her reward money for a recent tip. She was irritated to learn that she would have to wait until Monday.
“I’m in a bind, I’m really in a bind,” she told the hot-line operator. “There’s a lot of stuff I know, but I didn’t open my mouth. If I weren’t in a bind, I wouldn’t open my mouth.”
When she learned the money was not available, she said she would call back with the whereabouts of another suspect whom she had just seen “going down the road.”
They even accept tips by text message. If you find yourself desperate for cash or want to monetize your civic vigilance, give Crime Stoppers a call.