CLEARFIELD – Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. addressed the Graham Township Neighborhood Watch group during Thursday night’s meeting. Shaw explained the Clearfield County Crime Stoppers program and the ability to report crime anonymously.
Members of the Neighborhood Watch expressed concerns with reporting crime and believed that many citizens want to report crime but are fearful of retaliation.
Shaw explained that Crime Stoppers enables community citizens to report crime anonymously and encouraged the group to spread the word that crime can and should be reported without fear of retaliation.
Shaw noted that Crime Stoppers values the information received from citizens and respects the decision to remain anonymous. The value of this information to law enforcement is to important and Crime Stoppers takes no action to learn the identity of anonymous reports.
Shaw explained that a crime report can be made by calling an 800 number and giving an anonymous report. The 800 number is manned 24 hours a day at the Clearfield County 911 center. The phone does not have caller ID, and there is no action taken to determine the identity of the caller.
Recognizing that some people may be apprehensive about using the 800 number, Mr. Shaw created an Internet site that enables crime tips to be reported anonymously over the internet. Citizens can visit Clearfield County Crime Stoppers online at or the district attorney’s Web site at to report crime.
When crime tips are made over the Internet, the reporting source is asked to fill out a form providing information on the suspect and the nature of the crime. The form is then sent electronically to the district attorney’s office and forwarded to the appropriate police agency for investigation. Shaw informed the Neighborhood Watch group that the electronic form is completely anonymous, and no action is taken to learn the identity of the reporting source.
Although most crime tips are anonymous, Shaw stated that many people are willing to voluntarily disclose their identity and give permission for the police to contact them. In these instances, the police may call the reporting source for further information but every effort is made to keep the identity of the source anonymous.
Additionally, Shaw stated the decision to disclose your identity is your choice. The reporting source decides if they are willing to speak with police. The reporting source decides if they are willing to disclose their identity. Crime Stoppers takes no action to learn your identity unless you voluntarily decide to provide this information.
Shaw advised the Neighborhood Watch group that people who provide information leading to an arrest and/or conviction are eligible to receive a reward of up to $1,000. When anonymous tips are made, Crime Stoppers has a system in place where callers provide a secret password and are provided a tracking number. When a reward is authorized, information is placed on the Internet with instructions on how to claim the reward.
Shaw commended the Neighborhood Watch group for their efforts in getting involved with community safety. Mr. Shaw noted that police departments are short-handed everywhere in the United States, including Clearfield County. Law enforcement relies on information provided from the community to identify and investigate criminal activity. Shaw stated that community involvement is critical to keeping our streets and neighborhoods safe and would like to see more Neighborhood Watch groups developed in Clearfield County.
Neighborhood Watch groups serve a vital role to law enforcement. People living in the community serve as the eyes and ears of law enforcement and can provide valuable information about crime.
Anyone interested in forming a Neighborhood Watch group is encouraged to contact the district attorney’s office at 765-2641 or visit the district attorney’s Web site.