In the wake of largest reward ever offered for a Crime Stoppers tip announced in Houston, it leaves many wondering how to report a tip to the organization and remain anonymous. On Tuesday Crime Stoppers announced that the record $200,000 is being offered to help solve the murder of Gelareh Bagherzadeh, who was killed back in January. So how does one report a tip to the organization and keep a shielded identity?
When CrimeStoppers offers the cloak of anonymity to callers, it is an assurance guaranteed by state law. “When the tipster calls in and gives us information they’re issued a code number and it is that code number that they later use to claim their cash reward. They don’t have to cash a check. They don’t have to present a driver’s license.” explains Executive Director, Katherine Cabaniss. She says it all starts with a code number, “No one is ever going to ask their name. We don’t have caller ID. We don’t record phone conversations.”
Rewards are paid in cash. It is a system that has worked and helped the Houston branch of CrimeStoppers become the standard bearer for thousands of branches that exist across the country. “We know the promise of anonymity and that cash reward motivates those that would otherwise not tell what they know… to pick up the phone and call. That helps solve cases.” says Cabaniss. She adds, “We arrest more felons and we pay more cash rewards. Our community outreach is greater than any other CrimeStoppers that exists.