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WeTip program proves successful in Fallbrook

When crime happens, it is a citizen’s duty to call the local authorities and inform them about the situation, but when citizens are afraid of speaking out because of a concern for their personal safety and that of their family, that call typically does not get made.

Law enforcement is not able to work to its full potential without the help of local citizens.

Confidential hotlines such as Crime Stoppers have helped immensely in gathering information about crimes. However, these hotlines gather identifying information about the informants, and if a court needs their testimony, it will serve a subpoena to them, forcing the informant to appear in court to testify.

Recognizing the need for a truly anonymous tip line for citizens across the country, in 1972 Bill and Miriam Brownell founded WeTip, an anonymous crime reporting hotline, to aid law enforcement in reducing community and school crime while keeping informants completely anonymous.

“The first words spoken by a WeTip operator to a calling informant are ‘This is the WeTip crimeline; please do not give your name or identify yourself in any way,’” said Sue Mandell, a WeTip spokesperson. “The operator leads the informant through a series of questions to receive as much information as possible, but once the call ends, the operator doesn’t even have a way to tell if the informant was male or female.”

WeTip, considered an unbiased conduit, does not keep call detail logs and works with Verizon phone service on a national level to protect the phone numbers of the informants.

“If an informant tries to identify himself, the operator will disconnect the call to protect the informant,” said Mandell. “WeTip promises absolute anonymity, not just confidentiality.”

WeTip operators staff the toll-free, bilingual nationwide crime hotlines and Internet lines 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and relay the tip information to every law enforcement agency necessary.

They provide the maximum amount of information possible to law enforcement to enable them to conduct an investigation based on the anonymous information.

WeTip answers crime calls anywhere in the country for municipalities, school districts, corporations, small businesses, housing authorities and public and private agencies.

And if informants use the crime reporting resource online, they can provide an anonymous tip throughout the world regarding any major crime, including violent crime, property crime, fraudulent crime and corporate crime.

Anyone can report a crime, and as an added incentive, reporting on certain crimes can garner a reward of up to $1,000 for a successful tip.

A special three-part fictitious code name is given to the informant and the reward can be shipped to the local post office for pickup with the code name.

Fallbrook Union Elementary School District’s Potter Junior High is a member of the WeTip organization. They are “avid, proactive members” in passing information about WeTip and its anonymous crime reporting lines.

A recent WeTip call was used to notify officials about a student selling narcotics to his peers on school grounds. An arrest was made because of the information received from the call.

Potter students can call the hotline about crimes such as theft, weapon possession, arson, drug dealing and consumption, as well as less reported incidents such as bullying, teacher crime and graffiti.

Potter teachers and administrators have put WeTip fliers throughout the campus and, according to Mandell, about “90 percent of all calls are effective.”

To report a crime, go to http://www.wetip.com or call (800) 78-CRIME, (800) US-FRAUD, (800) 47-DRUGS or (800) 47-ARSON.

 

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