In 1976 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, a 19 year-old college student was shot and killed in a robbery of the gas station where he worked. The case went unsolved amid a public outcry to solve it. A detective named Greg MacAleese, working with a local TV station, came up with a simple but brilliant idea. They raised a small reward fund in the community then filmed a reenactment of the crime. Viewers were given a phone number where they could call anonymously with information on the case and receive the reward if their information led to an arrest.
Not only did they receive a tip that solved that case, about one hundred calls came in from people who wanted to give information about other crimes but were afraid to come forward to police. It was obvious to everyone involved that they had hit upon a crime-fighting goldmine. A nonprofit program called Crime Stoppers was formed with a volunteer board of citizens to approve rewards and raise funds. Soon other communities began to copy the program and before long Crime Stoppers had spread across the country. Our local program was initiated in 1982.
Today there are Crime Stoppers hotlines in every state and in more than twenty other nations around the world including the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Poland, South Korea, Mexico, The Netherlands, and many other countries.
Founded in 1982, our Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline marks 40 years of operation in 2022. During that time our program has helped keep the Kansas City metro area a safer place to live, raise a family, do business and visit. Our program is recognized year after year as one of the world’s leading Crime Stoppers programs. We are often called upon for advice by other existing programs and to help set up new ones in other cities. Most recently we aided the city and county of St. Louis in establishing a Crime Stoppers program there.
Day after day our hotline rings with information from concerned citizens who want to tell what they know about crimes or wanted criminals. On average, our hotline helps solve four felony cases each and every day.
Our record of success over the years has included tips that helped solve many high-profile crimes such as the Ali Kemp murder case, the 1988 deaths of six firefighters, the arrest of serial killer Richard Grissom, the Kelsey Smith murder case and many others.
Since 2004 one of our most successful programs has been our partnership with Lamar Advertising. Lamar continues to donate valuable billboard space on which they display photos of fugitives wanted for murder in the metro area. Since its inception this initiative has helped put at least nine suspects in jail and has become a model for other Crime Stoppers programs in the U.S.
Our program is committed to continuing our fight to solve crime, track down dangerous fugitives, and make our community safer. To do this, we only need the support of the citizens and the business community we serve.
Crime Stoppers Thanks All Area Departments Who Help Fight Crime
K.C. Crime Stoppers Highlights
1982 – The hotline is opened as a program of the Kansas City Crime Commission – It’s first year saw 30 tips taken and 8 cases cleared
1988 – The hotline takes hundreds of tips in several high-profile cases including the Richard Grissom case, the deaths of six KC fire fighters and the Ann Harrison abduction and murder. These tips will eventually help solve each of these.
1990 – The death of an FBI agent in downtown KC is solved from a tip
From 1995 onward, our program becomes a world leading Crime Stoppers program garnering over 40 international awards for its productivity
In 1999, Crime Stoppers International awards two of its three highest individual awards to Kansas City members: Margaret Jones is given the Corli Wagner Memorial Service Award for Lifetime Achievement with Crime Stoppers and Sgt. Craig Sarver is named International Coordinator of the Year.
In 2000 a tip leads to the clearing of the 10,000th case for our program.
In June 2002, 19 year-old Ali Kemp is murdered in a Leawood swimming pool pump house. Over the next 2-½ years our program would take 3,000 tips on the case, two of which would lead to the arrest of the suspect in November 2004.
In late December 2003, John Friedmann, Executive Director of the Truman Sports Complex, was shot and killed while washing his car near the stadiums. A tip led to the arrest of the suspect.
In early 2004, through the help of Roger Kemp, Lamar Advertising began a partnership with our Crime Stoppers program in which, at no cost, they display billboards bearing photos of wanted homicide suspects. As of the end of January 2007, of 15 fugitives shown, eleven were caught due to the signs.
By the end of 2006, our program had taken over 96,000 tips that had resulted in more than 8,200 arrests and the clearance of nearly 20,000 cases or warrants. More than $21 million in drugs and property had been recovered from our tips, including over $1 million just in 2006. Total rewards paid out have been just over $880,000 in non-taxpayer funds. That’s about $107 for each arrest.
2012 marked the 30th anniversary year for the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline. In December of 2013 we received word from the KCPD that one of out TIPS cleared the 600th homicide in our program's history. Sobering to think that we have been involved in the clearance of that many homicides yet glad we are a service to the community and at least assisted in bringing closure to some families who lost loved ones.
Area media play a huge part in our program’s growth and success with more than 20 regularly scheduled weekly media spots in television, radio and print in 2006.
Today our hotline averages the clearing of about 4 cases each and every day on more than 400 tips per month, a far cry from the totals of the first year.
On February 1, 2014, the Greater KC Crime Stoppers TIPS Hotline increased its reward payout up to $2,000 for information leading to arrest in felony cases.
August 2014 - Scholastic Program reintroduced and now has over 70 members. Scholastic tips have prevented 15 suicides and solved numerous crimes.
November 2017 - KCMO homicide rewards increased to "Up to $5,000.00" thanks to a partnership with KCPD and the City of KCMO.
April 2018 - KCMO homicide rewards increased to "Up to $10,000.00"
August 2018 - KCK homicide rewards increased to "Up to $5,000.00" thanks to a partnership with KCK Police and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.
June 2019 - KCMO homicide rewards increased to "Up to $25,000.00"