The Politicization of Crime: 3/30/22
As crime continues to be politicized, sadly Crime Stoppers is becoming a target. While none of this will deter us from being a voice for victims, when possible, we will share the attacks and our response. Read more below:
In 2019, Crime Stoppers of Houston began noticing a trend in which many of the defendants charged with murder were released on multiple felony bonds, person recognizance (PR) bonds, motion to revoke bond denied and bond forfeiture.
Since then, we have compiled a list of victims killed/murdered by defendants that had been released on the above at the time of their death. Sadly, this list has grown to over 160 men, women and children who have lost their lives at the hands defendants that have shown time and time again that they are a direct threat to our community. We are not talking about low level felony case or misdemeanor case or even drug related case. We are talking about violent felonies as defined by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting of 2019 that includes murder, non-negligent manslaughter, forceable rape, robbery, and aggravated assaults. All of which are arguably the most feared types of victimization in our society.
Crime Stoppers of Houston has consistently stated this as a crime crisis and public safety issue. Unfortunately, there are forces in Harris County that have decided to make this a political issue and sought to discredit Crime Stoppers in the process.
Articles, tweets and reports have been circulating with untruths, misrepresented information and misquotes.
One such article from the New Republic. In it the author stated that they reached out to Crime Stoppers of Houston, yet we never received a phone call, message, or email requesting comment. The author also misquoted a representative of Crime Stoppers USA to fit the narrative they were trying to create. Below are a few examples:
The author stated that Crime Stoppers “encourages citizens to have constant vigilance for potential crimes”.
That is true, we encourage citizens to have constant vigilance for potential crimes that they could become victim of. We also encourage citizens to report information they have regarding violent felony suspects.
The author stated that “law dictates that felony defendants pay a $50 fee that goes to Crime Stoppers as a condition of their parole.
This is not true. The fine the author is referring to applies to defendants that have been convicted and placed on probation. Texas law states that if a judge deems the defendant has the ability to pay, they may order the defendant to pay a fine in an amount not to exceed $50.
The author stated that “the chapter did not respond to questions”.
That is not true. We did not receive any phone calls, messages, emails or text messages asking for comment.
The author stated “America’s Most Wanted demanded viewers perform their civic duty by helping law enforcement with tips, after melodramatic depictions of crimes, much as Dave Ward did in Houston.”
Is this a form of victim shaming? Does the author think that a victim of violent crime is exaggerating or being overemotional (see definition of melodramatic)? We wonder if the victims would think they were being melodramatic when they bravely reported what happened to them?
The author stated, “Crime Stoppers relies on a model that encourages people to call the cops early and often”.
That is not true. We don’t encourage people to call the cops. We encourage them to call Crime Stoppers with information on felony cases and violent fugitives.
The author asked, “What happens if I’m mad at an ex-boyfriend and submit a fake tip?” I asked Chris Cameron, a chairperson with Crime Stoppers’ national organization. She said that they do get prank tips and other useless information, but they let police sort it out. “We just send them everything,”.
Ms. Cameron was misquoted here. She said that because of the nature of our business, we do receive some fake tips and some do not have enough information to be able to do much with but we send everything over to police because we just don’t know if a tip contains a missing piece of the puzzle police can use to help solve a case. That said, each site operates differently. CSOH vets all tips prior to sending them to law enforcement to weed out malicious or fake tips. Additionally, a tip alone is not enough to warrant law enforcement to make an arrest right way unless the tip is related to a fugitive that has an active warrant. Again, this information is vetted to confirm the fugitive is in fact a fugitive and has an active warrant.
The author stated, “Cameron also made the case for Crime Stoppers by noting that a tip that goes directly to cops can’t really be 100 percent anonymous, because it can be used in discovery or subpoenaed”.
That is not true. Ms. Cameron said they CANNOT be subpoenaed or foia’d. She also said we guarantee anonymity. Had the author contacted Crime Stoppers of Houston, we would have said the same thing and added that Texas Government Code 414 protects a tipster’s anonymity, Crime Stoppers does not have caller id, does not record calls and all web-based tips are scrubbed of IP addresses prior to final submission.
The author noted that, “The first category on the tip form for Crime Stoppers of Houston is “School related and bullying,” and it asks a series of questions like the grade, date, description, and a list of everyone involved. In the “Drugs” section, the first question is: “Does the suspect sell or use drugs? Or both?”
That is not true. The first category on the tip form is Aggravated Assault but that is just splitting hairs. The bigger question is what is wrong with a student reporting on campus bullying? Bullying victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide.
Crime Stoppers of Houston Facts:
- We take tips on felony cases approved misdemeanor cases that are limited to animal cruelty, domestic violence, and campus-based crimes.
- Nearly 60% of the cases solved between 1980 and 2021 with the help of Crime Stoppers tips are violent in nature or have a likelihood of being violent.
- Between 2010 and 2017 94% of the suspects charged and/or arrested with the help of Crime Stoppers tips had previous criminal history
- 90% of those suspects were found guilty and received some form of punishment from diversion programs to prison sentences
- 93% of murder suspects charged and/or arrested with the help of Crime Stoppers tips were convicted
- We also work hard to educate the community about crimes they could become victims of
- Our campus program gave 879 presentations in 2021 99.43% were on topics other than tip line
- Our community program gave 308 presentations in 2021 98% were on topics other than tip line
Posted byon 30 Mar 2022