Crime Stop still active
After almost three decades of operation, Crime Stop, the private-sector funded initiative, which facilitates the public sharing information about crimes without having to identify themselves even when they collect the rewards offered for information leading to arrest and conviction, is very much active and still viable.
"Do you think that we'd be able to get funding and sponsorship after 28 years this year if we were not successful? People don't throw their money after unsuccessful projects. We have been successful and we continue to be successful," Crime Stop manager Prudence Gentles insisted when pressed by The Gleaner about the programme's continued viability.
The low visibility of the programme's impact is in part due to the nature of its operations, with secrecy about the informants who feed its success critical to sustainability, Gentles, who has been with the programme since its start, explained.
CAREFUL WITH INFORMATION
"We have to be very careful of what we publicise because if we publicise a particular success, we could jeopardise our sources. So we are very careful. What we do is send out an end-of-year report, but the media hardly looks at it. I think I got one interview from it."
For 2016, the crimes reported to Crime Stop Jamaica remained wide and varied, with the majority of tips, 101, being about illegal firearms followed by tips on gunmen, 62. In 2016, the tips to Crime Stop were 19 per cent lower than the number received in 2015 - 523 compared to 647. However, the success rate remained at one in six (one success for every six calls received).
The types of crimes for which persons were arrested in 2016 varied, among them illegal possession of firearm, forgery, breach of the Excise Duty Act, illegal electrical connection, and assault at common law, to name a few. In 2016, arrests were 25 per cent lower than in 2015, down to 34 from 46.