CrimeStoppers expands hotline to accommodate tips for school crimes, animal cruelty

Having secrets in school is nothing new.

Adults know there are things that their kids won’t tell them.

But Crimestoppers is hoping it will be an option kids consider turning to if there is something wrong going on.

“Kids know everything, especially with cellphones out there videotaping,” said Sgt. Kim Buffett of CrimeStoppers. “We’re not here to make you a tattle tale or rat on friend or whatever. We’re here for you to be safe in school.”

From harassment to sexting to graffiti on the walls, Student Crimestoppers has a hotline that kids in high school, intermediate, even elementary can anonymously report any kind of crime on campus.

“There’s no caller ID. It’s an anonymous call. Even when we pay rewards, we don’t know who we’re paying. It’s a tip number,” Buffett said.

Your tip could earn you $250 while those behind the crimes get caught. It’s happened before.

“We did have a school that on the first day of school they went, teachers, custodians showed up first, and ever single door lock was crazy glued shut,” Buffett said.

But thanks to a tip to CrimeStoppers, “we identified the students and parents had to pay restitution.”

It wasn’t a small bill. Buffett tells us those parents had to pay $20,000.

CrimeStoppers isn’t in the business of just helping humans. There’s also the animal CrimeStoppers program.

“Animal CrimeStoppers is a program within Honolulu CrimeStoppers. It’s an avenue which the public can reach out to us and provide anonymous tips to animal cruelty,” explained Keoni Vaughn, CrimeStoppers board member. “You have dogs not being given proper sustenance, or maybe you see some animals being neglected. But what I would do is when in doubt, call in a tip and we’ll follow up and respond.”

In this case, tips leading to an arrest and conviction may be eligible for an up to $1,000 reward.

“I think it’s important to recognize that these animals don’t have a voice of their own, so we rely on the community to be our eyes and ears and report those tips so we can follow up and hopefully prevent animal cruelty in our community,” Vaughn said.

If you have tip for CrimeStoppers, there’s just one number to call whether it’s a crime in school, animal cruelty, or one of Hawaii’s Most Wanted: 955-8300.

You can also submit your anonymous tip online here.

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