The Kent County Silent Observer Program hosted the 3rd Annual Crime Stoppers USA Training Conference in August. Silent Observer helps reduce the amount of violence and crime in our neighborhoods through individuals reporting any information about a wrongful act or suspicious activity.
“It was a real honor and a privilege to host the Crime Stoppers USA National Training Conference and be in the presence of 130 delegates from all over the United States who are dedicated and passionate about keeping their communities safe and helping victims of crime find the justice they deserve,” says Silent Observer Program Director Chris Cameron.
Most people think that Silent Observer is a program of the police, funded by police but in actuality, Silent Observer is an independent, nonprofit organization that must raise [the funds] we need to operate," Cameron says. "By being independent from law enforcement, we can absolutely guarantee that our tipsters will remain anonymous, which is the foundation of the Silent Observer Program."
Although Silent Observer doesn’t use the name “Crime Stoppers,” its mission is the same.
“Having partnered with Crime Stoppers in the Quad Cities, I was familiar with the community service program. It’s quite an honor to have Silent Observer as a program of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce serving our business community,” says President and CEO Rick Baker.
Hosting the National conference is something to be proud of, but the accomplishments don’t stop there:
• Last year Silent Observer authorized rewards totaling $14,585 to individuals who provided information leading to the arrest of suspects.
• The Fast $50 program received 179 tips and 85 students were reprimanded for violating the school conduct code. Most tips were drug-related, but also include a few larcenies and tips regarding bullying resulting in 3 suspensions, possession of alcohol and 4 weapons recovered.
• The organization has formed a partnership with AT&T so that residents may report crimes via text messaging on their mobile devices.
Extraordinary things are happening at Silent Observer. Congratulations to them on their successful National conference, as well as the accomplished service of keeping our communities safe.
You know you want to get involved. Help put the good back in do-gooder…
• Report information about a crime anonymously by phone at (616) 774-2345 or text “Tip138” plus your message to CRIMES (274637).
• Talk to your middle and high school children about Silent Observer’s Fast $50 Program and encourage them to use it. For more information, visit their website
• Sign up for TipTalk, Silent Observer’s quarterly e-newsletter
• Volunteer to sit on one of Silent Observer’s committees
or volunteer to help out at an event
Source: Chris Cameron, Silent Observer; Rick Baker, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
Writer: Jennifer Wilson, Do Good Editor