The Mission of Crime Stoppers is to promote community participation in the apprehension of criminals by offering rewards and to encourage citizen-based responses to crime and violence through motivating the public to cooperate with law enforcement agencies.
Crime Stoppers of Wichita-Sedgwick County, a division of the non-profit Wichita Metro Crime Commission, works to make it easy for you to provide information about crimes and criminals anonymously and receive a cash reward for that information.
Crime Stoppers first began in Albuquerque, New Mexico during July 1975 which saw the fatal shooting of a female university student working one night at a local filling station. After two weeks the police had no information when out of desperation Detective Greg MacAleese approached the local television station requesting a reconstruction of the crime. The re-enactment offered a reward of $ 1,000.00 for information leading to the arrest of the killers.
Within 72 hours, a person called in identifying a car leaving the scene at high speed and he had noted its registration. The person calling said that he did not want to get involved so he had not called earlier. Detective MacAleese then realized that fear and apathy were the primary reasons why the public tended not to get involved. So he helped design a system where the public could anonymously provide details of the events. This system focused on stimulating community involvement and participation, taking advantage of every possible media opportunity, especially electronic media, to publicize unsolved crimes; and offering cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and/or conviction. Source: Wikipedia
Early in 1980, KAKE-TV President, Martin Umansky returned from a meeting of national television executives with a new public service program suggestion. Umansky had learned of the successful Crime Stoppers program operating in New Mexico and parts of Texas. He felt that Wichita should have a similar program. Umansky met with then Wichita Police Chief Richard LaMunyon, and soon after two WPD officers traveled to Albuquerque, New Mexico. The detectives met with Crime Stoppers founder, Albuquerque Police Detective Greg MacAleese and learned more about the operation.
When the officers returned, efforts in Wichita begun to identify groups that would be interested in starting a program locally. Bill Kentling, former Public Relations Director of Pizza Hut, provided initial legal assistance required in setting up the program. This included obtaining a tax exempt status from the IRS. Pizza Hut also contributed $5,000 to the reward account to launch the program. An immediate search began for interested citizens to serve on the board. Representatives from the Wichita Independent Business Association, Independent Insurance Agents, Insurance Women of Wichita, and others were recruited. Larry Schauf, former Vice President of Government Relations of Pizza Hut, Inc. was elected as the first Chairman of the Board and Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County was underway.
Today, the program continues to be highly successful with tips leading to numerous arrests every year. Citizens, the media, and law enforcement agencies work hand in hand to solve crime throughout the Wichita/Sedgwick County area.
Listen to Greg MacAleese's story
Crime Stoppers of Wichita-Sedgwick County
Image Courtesy of City of Wichita
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