UK needs to promote anonymous tip service

In a perfect world students could walk home at night without the fear of being assaulted or having their personal belongings stolen. Unfortunately these crimes happen, and university police need every tool possible to solve these crimes.

One of the best tools any police department has is the cooperation of citizens. Information from the community can be crucial in solving crimes. Lexington Police Department uses the tip service Bluegrass Crime Stoppers, which allows citizens to phone in anonymous tips about crimes or leave anonymous tips on the program’s website.

Calls are not recorded, and there is no caller ID. This anonymity allows people to provide tips without fear of retribution from the people who committed the crime.

Through coordination with local media outlets WLEX-18, WVLK-590 talk radio, and the Lexington Herald Leader, Bluegrass Crime Stoppers releases information on Tuesdays and Thursdays about the Crime of the Week and Most Wanted.

Callers also have the opportunity to earn cash rewards if their information leads to the arrests of the department’s Most Wanted Persons or the Crime of the Week suspects.

According to a Lexington Herald-Leader article written by a Kernel staffer, since the program started in 1987 is has helped police make 2,694 arrests, led to 8,268 cases cleared, paid out $514,070 in reward money and helped recover almost $2.8 million.

Perhaps best of all, the program runs entirely on private donations and does not use taxpayer dollars.

LPD detective Mark Thomas, coordinator for Bluegrass Crime Stoppers, said about 20 percent of the tips lead to arrests.

Bluegrass Crime Stoppers is one branch of the national Crime Stoppers program located throughout the country in major city police departments. It started in 1975 in Albuquerque, N.M. when a gas station employee was shot to death. An Albuquerque detective requested a reenactment of the crime from a local TV station and offered a cash reward for information leading to an arrest. Within 72 hours an individual called in with information about the suspect’s vehicle.

The UK Police Department has a similar tool. Students can visit the UKPD website at to find information about TipSubmit Mobile phone app, which allows student to submit anonymous tips about crimes. According to UKPD crime data, some of the more common crimes around campus are theft, and alcohol and drug offenses.

UK students and Lexington citizens should take advantage of these services when necessary to support police in solving crimes in our community.

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