An anonymous hotline that people in Vanderburgh County can call to report crime in their community is paying dividends less than three months after it was unveiled.
You can see it on a billboard. You can see it on a city bus. When it comes to the WeTip hotline, Vanderburgh County Prosecutor Nick Hermann can see the results.
"Quite frankly, that's what we expected," Hermann said. "We expected people in Vanderburgh County to utilize this and want to help clean up their neighborhood. Really, what it does is it creates an avenue for people to clean up their neighborhoods and report suspicious activity."
Hermann rolled out the WeTip hotline for Vanderburgh County in early June. The national hotline allows local people to submit tips anonymously, completely anonymously.
The hotline will not take record of anyone's names or locations. Instead, callers are given 'user names' as an identifier. No court can compel WeTip to hand over the true identities of the callers, Hermann says.
The tips can also lead to rewards for the caller. The hotline is also proving to be rewarding for Vanderburgh County law enforcement as well.
"If anything, I think it's that we're victims of our own success," Hermann says. "When you get a lot of tips in, you only have so much personell to go out and investigate and so it's a matter of getting a law enforcement agency to do that."
"(over the) Over the last few months, we've been trying to do an educational type of program and get the word out to people because the service isn't worth anything if people don't use it. We got some numbers back that show 7% of the calls nationally are being made in Vanderburgh County."
If that number isn't impressive, here are some more.
In August, there were 95 tips submitted and vast majority of those tips were drug-related. Twenty-six of those tipsters requested a reward.
Since the hotline launched in Vanderburgh County, there have been more than 200 tips submitted, Hermann says. That's an average of more than 20 tips per week.
Again, a majority of those were drug-related, largely centered around meth, marijuana or prescription pills.
In total, only 32% of people who submitted tips wanted a reward if it led to an arrest and conviction.
The numbers show people are more concerned with bettering their community than the financial rewards that might come from it.
"There's no one better than someone who lives in the community to know what problems there are."
The tips might come in anonymously but Hermann says the success of the WeTip hotline is right here in plain view.
To call the WeTip hotline, just call 1-800-78-CRIME. Again, you can report criminal activity in your neighborhood anonymously.