5 Jan 2010

Anonymous anti-crime phone line proving popular

6:20 am on 5 January 2010

The Crimestoppers phone line, which people can call anonymously to report crime, has received more than 1000 calls in its first two months of operation in New Zealand.

United Kingdom-based call centre staff pass on tip-offs to police, who have followed up more than 400 calls.

Crimestoppers New Zealand chief executive Lou Gardiner says the main crime reported was the manufacture, supply and distribution of drugs.

Mr Gardiner says theft was the next highest crime, followed by information on wanted persons, sexual offences and possession of weapons.

Seventy-five percent of the calls came from the North Island and half of those were from Auckland.

Twenty-five percent of the calls came from the South Island, with most of those from Christchurch.

Crimestoppers is working with police to get more detailed information about how many of the calls ended in arrest, Mr Gardiner says.

Manukau City Mayor Len Brown says anonymity is the key to success for the Crimestoppers tip-off line.

Mr Brown says there has been a glaring need for a service where people can report crime anonymously, without fear of intimidation.

He says community workers routinely hand out the Crimestoppers number and it is included in all publications about policing initiatives.