DES MOINES, Iowa — $50 a tip. That’s how much students at Lincoln High School will get paid under a new program that allows them to report crimes anonymously. The program uses smart phone technology and allows students to get paid for tipping off school officials to crimes on campus. The partnership with Crime Stoppers of Central Iowa was the idea of the students.
“They came up with Quick 50 as an extra incentive if some of the kids would be more motivated by money than doing the right thing, as far as just getting the information out,” said Greg Willey, VP Public Relations for Crime Stoppers.
In a letter sent home, Lincoln High School Principal Paul Williamson wrote, in part:
“A couple of months ago one of our classes was challenged to identify an issue present in student’s lives that creates a barrier for students to graduate. During this project they identified illegal activity such as drugs and weapons as two issues that may lend to a student not graduating high school. As a result of their efforts, they met with various stakeholders to present and reinvent, if you will, the traditional Crime Stoppers Program that is present in many schools across the country today.”
So, the students came up with a solution called the Quick 50 program.
“The biggest thing that we did in partnering with them is that we have the ability to take the tips, to protect the identity of the kids, and allow them not just to solve crimes, but they also can report bullying,” said Willey. “The app has a lot of different parts to it and they can pretty much report anything.”
A video explaining the program to students shows how easy it is use.
Tips are routed directly to the School Resource Officer, as well as various administrators, and the the app is completely anonymous. Drugs or weapons have to be on the person at Lincoln for a tip to be considered successful.
Crime Stoppers says anonymity is key to the program.
“The software that we purchased, basically the information is scrubbed,” said Willey. “It`s given a random ID number so that ID number identifies that tipster and then that tipster can go to a bank that we`ve set up. They go in there at a designated time that they`re told they can go and they`ll basically tell the person that i`m the tipster 12345, and they hand them an envelope of money.”