KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In the 38 years that Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers has been a part of the metro community, 655 homicide cases have been solved thanks to anonymous tips.
But hundreds more remain unsolved.
"If you don't report it, we're never going to know,” said Detective Kevin Boehm with the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers, “and there's a chance that case may never be solved.”
Boehm said they do not take down personal information when people call with tips.
"All we want is the information they have,” Boehm said.
Kansas City, Missouri, saw four shootings this past weekend alone. And to be part of the change that could make the city safer, the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers said more people need to come forward with information. The organization, according to Boehm, ensures anonymity.
"When we say, ‘anonymity,’ what that means is we don't record calls. We don't have caller ID,” Boehm said. “We never ask for any personal information – there's no way to track who contacts us.”
Whether by phone, the KC Crime Stoppers website or the P3 Tips mobile app, Crime Stoppers acts as an intermediary between tipsters and detectives working to solve cases.
"We really believe that somebody out there has seen something related to, by and large, almost every crime that is committed” Boehm said. “Somebody has seen a vehicle, a person leaving the scene, a suspicious character... whatever it might be, and that small piece of the pie or the puzzle may help those detectives."
Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said more people need to share what is happening when they see it.
“If you're not sharing, you're not being tough. You're not being cool,” Lucas said. “You're allowing some of these people to continue to abuse our neighborhoods, our people, harm our community, and we deserve better.”
Since the program came to Kansas City in 1982, $1.5 million has been paid to tipsters in the metro. Those people have remained anonymous to this day.
"There are roughly 500 Crime Stopper programs across the nation,” Boehm said. “No individual identity has ever been outed by a Crime Stopper program. No. 1, again let me reiterate, we don't have it. There is nothing that I can produce that points to who our tipsters are. If I wanted to do it I couldn't – I can't. Because all that information is sanitized before we ever receive a tip."
Lucas and other Missouri mayors have met with Gov. Mike Parsons to discuss gun violence. One of the items to come out of those meetings was enhancement of the state’s witness protection program. In the fiscal year 2021 budget, Parsons called for $1 million for a witness protection fund “allowing local police chiefs, county sheriffs, other law enforcement agencies, and prosecutors access to funds that will help protect crime victims and witnesses during the investigatory stages of a case.”
Typically, a Crime Stopper tip is eligible for up to $2,000 in cash. Last June, that increased to $25,000 for homicide tips.