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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Crimestoppers

Crimestoppers is a New Zealand crime fighting organisation introduced from Britain as a result of the theft of Victoria Cross medals from the Waiouru Army Museum (there is a potted history at the end).

The concept is simple: if you think there is something suspicious it should be reported. If it is serious, and needs police help, dial 111. Where it is not urgent it would ideally still be reported directly to police. However there can be circumstances where the thought of others knowing you had contacted police can cause anxiety or fear. This is where Crimestoppers come in.

A topical issue in Christchurch is looting, and the disappearance of items from the Red Zone and homes in the suburbs. They have to go somewhere, to someone. Perhaps that someone has money or assets that seem out of character, or is offering you something at a bargain price. If this causes you disquiet contact the police, or use Crimestoppers.

Contacting Crimestoppers is easy and safe. All communications with Crimestoppers are anonymous. You can call them on their anonymous 0800 number 0800 555 111. Alternatively, you can use the encrypted online form on their website. The link to the form will take you to the UK Crimestoppers who will pass the information back to New Zealand. If you feel your situation is out of the ordinary, consider going to a public library and using a computer there.

Information received by Crimestoppers is checked, to ensure there is nothing which would identify whoever provided the information, then passed on to the appropriate authority (e.g. police, customs, immigration, corrections). They in turn will carefully investigate the information to see if it is correct, and whether there is other information to corroborate what has been given to them by Crimestoppers.

To find out more, go to the Crimestoppers' website: www.crimestoppers-nz.org or use these specific links:

What does anonymous mean?
What information do you handle, and what should I report to other agencies?
What happens to information provided?
What if I am the victim of false allegations to Crimestoppers?
What about school crime?
Do you give advice on crime protection?
How good has Crimestoppers been in stopping crime?
Has Crimestoppers promise of anonymity ever been broken?
    For those of you who enjoy blogs, Crimestoppers have one here.

    Finally, a brief history from the Crimestoppers New Zealand website (here).
    Concept originated in US when a young college student was killed and no one would come forward to give information. The opportunity to give information anonymously and rewards bought results. Established in UK in similar circumstances. A policeman was murdered and no one came forward with information. Michael Ashcroft, a businessman, posted an award and the chance to give information anonymously. This bought results. Established in NZ as a result of theft of Victoria Crosses from Army Museum. This bought together Lord Ashcroft, who provided a reward for the medals return, and the Commissioner of Police and gave the impetus for the establishment of Crimestoppers New Zealand. The medals were returned undamaged. For history and success of our sister organisation, Crimestoppers UK.

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