BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Getting the community involved in crime fighting, it’s a concept the Battle Creek area is very familiar with.
For more than 40 years law enforcement across Calhoun County has been relying on anonymous tips through Silent Observer. This particular program one of the longest running community tip programs in the country.
Kara Beer is one of the people in charge of the Silent Observer programs in Battle Creek and has been getting the word out anyway she can. The number to call, (269) 964-3888, is attached to neighborhood watch signs throughout the community.
“The reason why there is the Silent Observer phone number on there is because they are giving tips to keep their neighborhood safe and there are over 1000 of those signs out right now,” said Beer.
Recently Silent Observer started getting tips inside each school in Battle Creek with a program called ‘Fast Fifty’.
“The student that goes in and talks to the school liaison and tells them that tip receives 50 dollars cash for doing that and it keeps the schools safe which is what we want,” Beer explained.
There is also a fugitive of the month program which profiles a wanted criminal online and a felony gun program which averages one to three major tips a year.
“They (the guns) are in the hands of people that shouldn’t have them. We had one where we got a tip and they raided 23 guns,” said Beer.
Now the hope is more tips will come in via texting. There is a free app called TipSubmit. The app can be used by iPhone and Android users.
Beer said, “It’s easy to just push that app and there it is. And you can enter whatever you need and it’s done.”
Those will other phones call text a tip to ‘CRIMES’ or 274637. Then type ‘SO TIP’ and provide your information.
In total, Silent Observer averages 500 tips a year in Calhoun County through all programs combined.
Beer said the programs work because the tipster can remain anonymous and be rewarded anywhere from 50 to 5,000 dollars.
“We have no idea what your phone number is. We don’t know what your name is. And when you call we just say, ‘What is your tip number?’ That is how we know you is by a tip number,” said Beer.
Police don’t care if you remain anonymous as long as they can get the information they need and keep everyone safe in the process.
Other Communities that have the TipSubmit app include; Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Grand Rapids, Holland, Kalamazoo, Paw Paw, and Zeeland.