Police reap benefit of crime rewards

May 22, 2008 8:48:15 PM PDT
Police tell Action News they're getting more crime tips than usual. The theory is tipsters are motivated by the economic slowdown. Lt. Frank Vanore of the Philadelphia Police said "people have different motivations for making the call. Their motivation is their motivation. We're not looking into that but we need all the help we can get."

He went on to say, "we've seen it in the most recent case with Sgt. Liczbinski. It was something that helped us break the case and capture the last suspect."

The Citizens Crime commission has seen about a 10% to15% increase in the number of tip calls over the past few months. President John Apeldorn says people who are out of jobs or out of money to put food on the table or gas in their cars are hoping to collect some extra cash. "If you put yourself in the individual's position and you need the money you're going to make the call and it could be family, friend, ex-lover, ex-business partner, whatever," Apeldorn said.

But police warn that although they are happy to reward people with legitimate information money is not the only thing at stake. A flurry of calls with no real basis can impede an investigation. "We don't want to see people calling giving false information or giving information they may have gotten sixth hand," Vanore warns.

At the same time, the Crime Commission says they get plenty of calls where the motivation is simply to get the bad guys off the street.

"Sometimes people call and they don't want the money they say 'Hey this is information and you can keep the money and give it back to the people who post it."

Police say if money is something they can use to combat the "stop snitching" culture, they're willing. It's also important to remember cash is only rewarded after a conviction.