Florida’s Anonymous Crime Tip Line – The Success That Spread Across the Country

February 24, 2022 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

Florida’s Anonymous Crime Tip Line – The Success That Spread Across the Country

Florida’s anonymous tip line went into effect on October 1, 2020, with the goal of avoiding confusion between the multiple Crimeline and Crimestoppers hotlines that operate throughout the state. The line has seen such success that it is now being implemented nationally. Ashley Moody, Florida’s Attorney General who initially joined the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers to create this tool, announced this momentous feat on February 21 at the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office.

The tip line allows for anyone to report tips about a crime from anywhere in the state by dialing **TIPs (8477). Now, that same number can be used in any state in the U.S. to report tips.

Why is the Line Important in Florida?

The ability to make an anonymous tip allows citizens to engage and speak up when they have information about a crime but also provides safety and protection from potential backlash or retribution that may come from reporting a crime.

Before **TIPS was implemented, there were approximately 27 different crime tip lines across the state which used local phone numbers, leading individuals with information to question which line was the correct one to relay information to. The **TIPS line, which was the first statewide cellular Crime Stoppers tip number of its kind in the nation, helped to remedy that confusion by creating one single line for the public to use to report a crime. Moody stated, “**TIPS works a lot like 911. Instead of having to find a jurisdiction’s specific crime tip line based on where you are at the time, **TIPS works anywhere and automatically passes the information on to the local law enforcement agency.”

With it now being used nationally, anyone with information regarding crime can call **TIPS from their mobile phone. The use of the same simple number nationwide also helps Florida residents specifically since so many outside visitors travel to the sunshine state. When the tool was first created, Moody also noted that  “in addition to routing the caller to the local Crime Stoppers line, a smartphone application link will be sent to the phone which enables an individual to download the Crime Stoppers app, P3 Tips. This free app is another avenue for individuals to report tips subject to rewards. Similar to any phone call made to Crime Stoppers, any tip sent through the app is reported anonymously.”

Florida Association of Crime Stoppers

Since it was established in 1977, the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers (FACS) has aimed to help establish local programs, provide continuous training, mentoring, and advocacy to established programs and developing programs. It is a statewide “umbrella organization [comprised] of a volunteer board of directors from the 27 Crime Stoppers programs throughout the State of Florida [and] provides recommended guidelines and best practices to ensure consistency and continuity of the crime stoppers’ mission.” Overall, FACS has been a crucial aid to law enforcement when it comes to apprehending criminals and protecting communities overall. In the past 12 months, FACS has recorded the following statistics:

  • More than 59,000 citizen tips have been reported to FACS
  • These tips led to more than 2,700 arrests; and
  • FACS paid more than $987,000 for anonymous tips leading to arrests

Just last week, the use of the tip line led to the arrest of  19-year-old Emmanuel Dandre Bullard who was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and shooting into an occupied vehicle, both in connection with several violent road rage incidents. The first anonymous tip that came into the tip line was what helped law enforcement find the suspect who was first reported on December 27, 2021. The victim reported that the suspect pulled in front of her car while they were driving and a man pointed a gun outside the passenger window and shot at her four times, leading her to swerve off the side of the road and call police. Three other incidents occurred after, all involving the suspect in his vehicle shooting at other drivers.

Written by Sarah Kamide

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