Fighting crime goes online

| 04/09/2008

(CNS): Cayman Crime Stoppers now have a new tool for fighting crime with the launch of a new web portal for submitting tips online, and because tips are sent through an encrypted system, people submitting them are able to remain completely anonymous, just like those using the established telephone hotline.

“Anonymity is the key to the whole Crime Stoppers programme,” said Stuart Bostock (left), Cayman Crime Stopper’s Chairman.“We have to be able to guarantee callers that they will never be identified, especially in a small community such as ours.”

Tips to Cayman Crime Stoppers, which have leaped in number over recent months, have traditionally been submitted by telephone to the programme’s tips line, 800 TIPS (no ‘1’) and answered by call-center operators in Miami to guarantee callers’ anonymity. Tipsoft, as the online tipping software is called, now allows – for the first time ever in Cayman – for tips to be submitted securely via the Internet. It does not however, replace the existing telephone tips line, which remains a completely secure method for anyone to share information about a crime without revealing their identity.

Tipsoft allows Crime Stoppers to keep those giving tips online completely anonymous, Bostock said. “Just as people are realizing that our telephone tips line guarantees that a caller’s identity is completely protected, so I think they will now be quick to trust that Tipsoft does the same.”

“Tipsoft is as secure and anonymous as you can get and is hugely popular with both the police and the public these days”, says Kevin Anderson of Texas based Anderson Software, which specialises in providing secure web applications for the Law Enforcement, Security and Emergency Management sectors.

Tips can be submitted online via the recently launched Cayman Crime Stoppers website at www.crimestoppers.ky. By clicking on the ‘report a crime’ button and filling out a simple form, anyone in the Cayman Islands, with access to the internet, can submit information, which could help prevent or solve a crime. Whilst tips submitted online are received securely by dedicated operators at the Royal Cayman Islands Police, Tipsoft’s encryption system ensures that the information’s originator can never be identified. Kevin Anderson explains, “When a webtip is submitted, it get’s delivered right into TipSoft via secure etransfer, just as if it had come from the call-centre in Miami.”

Anderson Software reports that some of its Tipsoft users, predominantly Crime Stoppers programmes, are already reporting a doubling in the total number of tips they are receiving monthly, with two programs surpassing their monthly phone-call volume now with the software. Boulder County Crime Stoppers in the United States claims that Tipsoft increased the number of tips it received by 300%, whilst Nova Scotia’s Crime Stoppers programme reported the receipt of more than 540 tips in its first two years of providing the online tipping service.

Bostock says, “Tipsoft is tried and tested, and the evidence that it works is irrefutable. Tipsoft’s success in other programmes over recent years is largely due to it being so secure.” He adds, “As the Internet increasingly dominates the way people communicate, especially younger people, Tipsoft was clearly a must-have for Cayman Crime Stoppers. We are delighted to introduce this new service into the community and we are confident that it will prove to be a very effective tool for helping us keep Cayman safe.”

The launch of Cayman Crime Stoppers’ new website, www.crimestoppers.ky, puts a whole host of additional crime-prevention tools at the finger-tips of Cayman’s security-conscious. Visitors to the site will find crime prevention tips and links to useful resources, as well as be able to easily join the growing membership of the programme and keep-up-to-date with its news and events. Users can also delve into a veritable trove of information about the Crime Stoppers programme, including its background, global structure and perhaps most-inspiring of all, its international performance statistics. The site also caters to its corporate visitors, who will find easy ways to get involved in this unique community service and offer their support, which, as the website reminds us, is the lifeblood of the programme.

Cayman Crime Stoppers was formed in 1993 by the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce to provide a vital service, which helps protect the community from crime. Working in close partnership with the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS), the community and the media, it has become one of the most effective crime solving tools available to local law enforcement agencies. Cayman Crime Stoppers provides a safe and secure means for anybody with information about a crime to share it freely whilst protecting their identity. It could also earn them a reward of up to $1,000.

 

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