Crime Stoppers or Crimestoppers is a community program that helps people to provide anonymous information about criminal activity. Often managed by non-profit groups or the police, it operates separately from the emergency telephone number system or other standard methods of contacting police.  This allows a person to provide crime solving assistance to the authorities without being directly involved in the investigation process. Founded in the United States in 1976 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Crime Stoppers later caught on in Canada and the United Kingdom.
The authorities, especially the police, sometimes rely on information from the community about criminal activities or events. Crime Stoppers was developed to enable the public to participate without fear of reprisal and to make it easier for witnesses to volunteer information anonymously. There have been challenges to this aspect.
Crime Stoppers first began in Albuquerque, New Mexico in July 1976. That month Michael Carmen was fatally shot while he was working at night at a local filling station. After two weeks the police had not been able to gather any information about the killing. Detective Greg MacAleese approached the local television station to request they film a reconstruction of the crime. When the re-enactment was aired, the police department offered US$1,000.00 for information leading to the arrest of the killers. Within 72 hours, a male called in identifying a car which he had seen leaving the scene at high speed; he had noted its registration. The person calling said that he did not want to get involved; therefore, he had not called earlier.
Detective MacAleese realized that fear and apathy often prevented the public from getting involved. He helped design a system by which the public could anonymously provide details of the events. This system focused on stimulating community involvement and participation, and took advantage of electronic media to publicize unsolved crimes. The police offered cash rewards for information leading to an arrest and/or conviction.
Since the first chapter was officially formed in Albuquerque in 1976, Crime Stoppers in the United States has been responsible for more than half a million arrests and more than US$4 billion in recovered property.
The first organisation that supported the Crime Stoppers concept was Circle K Stores in New Mexico. After hearing a speech made by Greg MacAleese to the Chamber of Commerce the head of security for Circle K Store, Carl Jones approached MacAleese and said he thought the concept was an excellent idea and asked if he would like help putting the civilian Board of Directors together. MacAleese said, "That moment might have been the luckiest in the history of Crime Stoppers".
The long history between Crime Stoppers and Circle K Stores remains strong to this day, largely due to Sean Sportun who is the head of security for Circle K Stores in Central Canada. Sportun has been an extraordinary advocate for the cause and has been recognized on a local, provincial and international level for his dedicated efforts - in 2019 Sportun received the Crime Stoppers International Civilian of The Year award.
Crime Stoppers spread to Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom. While the individual programs are local or regional in nature, mostly run by non-profit groups or directly by police, various national and international umbrella organizations exist. The toll-free telephone number +1-800-222-TIPS is used to reach various different Crime Stoppers groups in Canada and the U.S., although some groups publish their own numbers.
The program claims to provide anonymity (callers are given a code number instead of being asked for their name and calls are not traced or recorded) and to pay rewards when their information leads to an arrest and/or conviction. However, in a 2003 California death penalty case, a defendant had called the tip line himself. The managers of a tip hotline guaranteeing anonymity had taped calls; such tapes were used as evidence against the defendant and challenged by his attorney.
- Crimestoppers UK
- Crime Stoppers USA
- Crime Stoppers International
- Montana Crime Stoppers
- Block Parent Program (Canada)
- Neighborhood watch
- Profile Crime Stoppers USA.
- MacAleese, Greg (2016-07-12). Crime Stoppers: The Inside Story. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781533259721.
- Millar, Cal (2014-08-07). What Is Crime Stoppers. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781500645939.
- Give information anonymously Crimestoppers UK.
- How it Works Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama.
- "Crime Stoppers USA - Welcome". Crime Stoppers USA. Crime Stoppers USA. February 10, 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- "Homepage". Crime Stoppers Australia. Retrieved 6 March 2020.
- Contact Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama at 205-254-7777 Crime Stoppers of Metro Alabama.
- Call 713-222-TIPS Crime Stoppers Houston Area.
- Rewards for information Crimestoppers UK.
- How it Works Crime Stoppers of Houston.
- "People v. Maury (2003) 30 Cal.4th 342 [133 Cal.Rptr.2d 561, 68 P.3d 1] at p. 385 & fn. 10. as cited in Kight v. CashCall, Inc., 200 Cal. App. 4th 1377 - Cal: Court of Appeal, 4th Appellate Dist".