The simple fact is that law enforcement personnel cannot be everywhere, all the time, and criminals are adept at taking advantage of this situation. Crime Line is a program that encourages citizens to anonymously come forward with information about criminal activity in their community. If the anonymous tip leads to an arrest (does not have to be a conviction) the tipster is eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. In the state of Virginia the State Code guarantees that the person providing an anonymous tip through the Crime Line (1-888-LOCK-U-UP) does not have to appear in court as a witness and their identity will not be released to the public.
The current Virginia Peninsula Crime Stoppers, Inc. (VPCS),is part of an international crime fighting network that had its roots in a Crime Stoppers program started in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1976. An investigator in Albuquerque was trying tosolve a crime related to the murder of a gas station attendant. A simple tip from a member of the public helped solve the crime and now there are Crime Line related programs in over 30countries worldwide and programs throughout the United States.
Locally, a group of businessmen, who were in an organization called the "Peninsula Retail Merchants Association", met in early1982 with Chief Minetti and Chief Austin to discuss how a crime line program would work locally. As a result of these meetings with the Chiefs the Board of Directors of the Peninsula Retail Merchants Association met on April 21, 1982, and declared the existence of the Peninsula Crime Line.
The VPCS (formerly called the Peninsula Crime Line) is a partnership between law enforcement, private citizens, and the media. The system involves a monetary reward, up to $1,000.00, for anonymous tips over a secure line. Law enforcement agencies forming VPCS includes the cities of Hampton, Newport News, Poquoson,Williamsburg and the counties of James City, Gloucester and York. Over the past 10 years alone this program has received almost 9,000 anonymous tips leading to 1,129 criminal arrests, helping law enforcement solve 1,376cases. Over the same period the calls enabled law enforcement to recover over $489,000in stolen property and illegal drugs, and these anonymous tipsters were approved for $330,000 in rewards paid by VPCS. Rewards funds are the result of generous donations from corporations, local businesses and the public. It is important to note that VPCS receives no funding from federal state or local governments and relies entirely on donations and grants to fund the program.
VPCS' primary method of receiving crime tips has historically been through the use of the Crime Line phone number 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Over the past few years VPSC has introduce dother social media methods, particularly texting, in its fight against crime. Tipsters are not required to leave their name or telephone number, and by state law are not required to testify in court. Callers are given confidential numbers which are used by the tipster to track the progress of their report and to collect their cash reward.
The Virginia Peninsula Crime Stoppers is a collaboration between private citizens (its Board of Directors) and law enforcement personnel and the media. The Daily Press newspaper has been a significant help to VPCS by publishing each Thursday a full page of individuals wanted by law enforcement. The Daily Press also publishes a daily list of local crimes and provides the Crime Line tip telephone number for citizens to call with a tip.
VPCS is headquartered in Newport News City Center and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The Board of Directors is made up of volunteers who meet once a month to review law enforcement recommendations for tips received the previous month. The VPCS Speakers Bureau is available to provide additional details concerning the organization mission and its anonymous tip rewards program. Information is also available on the VPCS web site www.vapeninsulacrimestoppers.com. On the 3rd Thursday of June each year the VPCS conducts a "Salute to Law Enforcement". At this event the top law enforcement individual, and the top civilian administrative person, from each of the seven component jurisdictions, is honored at a luncheon.
Donations to VPCS can be made through the United Way Campaign #6231; mailed directly to VPCS at P.O. Box 12111, Newport News,VA 23612; through the donations tab on the VPCS Facebook page; or submitted via the VPCS web site.