established a Crime Tip Hotline to provide "effective and anonymous method of reporting" information or tips about suspicious activity or suspected criminal activity.
According to Deputy Chief Bob Pawlisz, the hotline is a way to encourage a partnership between police and the community.
"We can't be everywhere," he said. The community stands at nearly 25,000 residents, and the police have limited resources.
The safety of the community is the ultimate goal. Certainly community members in the past have taken individual strides at notifying the proper authorities of questionable activities, but the hotline offers someone a chance to report suspicious activity without having to leave his or her name.
The Will County Sheriff's Department hotline has been in existence for a number of years, and New Lenox residents have made good use of that, added Pawlisz. Nevertheless, a local contact can make callers feel a bit more comfortable. Any and all information gathered on the hotline will remain confidential, he noted.
Crime Tip Hotline number: 815-462-6111 (24 hours)
"The main goal of the hotline is to ferret out criminal activity," Pawlisz said. "This tip line is intended to provide the means to accomplish that goal by allowing citizens to more readily provide crime tip information in a safe, timely and effective manner."
Reflecting on the effectiveness of genuine tips, he said, "I can't tell you how many times (callers' tips) have helped." A resident might have been awakened in the middle of the night by the noise from vandalism.
Now if a dog's bark wakes someone up when it hears a possible car break-in outside, an alert resident can simply call the hotline number. He recommends keeping the hotline number ready and visible by the telephone.
The hotline number, however, is no replacement for an emergency. Pawlisz cautions residents not to confuse the two numbers. Any emergency or violent situation commands a . The 911 call always gets immediate attention, he said.
But for non-emergency situations or circumstances that appear to be unusual, Pawlisz said a call to the hotline is a good option.
Three primary objectives
The hotline is meant to:
- Increase the community's involvement in providing crime tip information to police.
- Improve dissemination of tip information in a timely manner.
- Initiate investigations and increase arrests with the upsurge of citizen tip information.
With this easy-to-remember number, callers are asked to leave as much information as they can. Pawlisz provided a few suggestions:
- Describe the type of criminal activity
- Date and time that the crime occurred
- The location of the crime
- The suspect's name
- The suspect's age or date of birth
- The suspect's physical description
- Places where the suspect frequents
- A description of the suspect's vehicle or mode of transportation
- Any pertinent information regarding the crime