How Crime Stoppers ensures the tipster’s anonymity

On the Crime Stoppers of Minnesota website, tipsters can submit information anonymously about a case.

Investigators and family hope the increased reward of $180,000 will encourage a tipster to come forward with information about the shootings of three children in north Minneapolis.

Tipsters can even do so anonymously through Crime Stoppers of Minnesota. Throughout the process, the organization goes to great lengths to protect the tipster’s identity.

When a tipster first provides information to Crime Stoppers, the tipster is assigned a randomized number.

The chairman of Crime Stoppers Minnesota explains whether that tip comes in via email, phone call or through the Crime Stoppers app, the organization doesn’t have the ability to trace information back to a person or place.

"We are set up that when you contact us, none of that data – the caller ID, the url for the email or the data from the smartphone app – we don’t have that," said Robert Dennistoun, the Crime Stoppers Minnesota chairman.

What they do have is the information the anonymous tipster provided, which is handed over to police.

"We gather the information anonymously, we turn it over to law enforcement anonymously," said Dennistoun.

If the tip leads to an arrest, the police let Crime Stoppers know – tip 2468 for example – was the one that broke the case. Then, Crime Stoppers will post a notification on their site saying tipster 2468 is eligible for a reward.

The tipster then reaches back out to Crime Stoppers anonymously and they work together to find a way to get the tipster a reward without being identified.

"We’ve paid out rewards and we’ve always kept people anonymous," said Dennistoun. "It takes creativity."

The chairman said he’s personally met people in parking lots to hand off envelopes, people can get a code word to bring to a bank, or even have the tipster provide an address where Crime Stoppers can send the money without ever knowing the tipster’s name. The emphasis is all on making sure Crime Stoppers, police or the public never know who provided the information.

Anyone with information in the shootings of 6-year-old Aniya Allen, 9-year-old Trinity Ottoson-Smith or 10-year-old Ladavionne Garret Jr. is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or visit