David's new neighbor, Jeff, is selling drugs and he's worried about what it will do to the neighborhood. David fears for the safety of not only his kids but all the children on the block. He wants to do something—he wants to put a stop to the drug activity before it gets any worse. But he's scared to call the police and report his neighbor. What if Jeff finds out who reported him? Will his life be in danger? Would his wife be in danger? What about his young children?
In fear of what might happen, David remains silent.
Lisa has watched the park near her house turn into a meeting place for drug dealers and buyers. She's pretty sure they are selling heroin; there are plenty of used syringes littering the park. She would call the police, but she’s afraid of what might happen. After all, she isn’t completely innocent—she occasionally smokes marijuana. And working two jobs means she occasionally has to leave her 11-year-old home alone for a while. If she reaches out to the police, will they believe her? Will they dig into her past and investigate her?
Lisa decides it’s better not to get involved; she just can't risk it.
Doing the Right Thing...Safely
One thing's for sure: David and Lisa are not alone. Concerns about personal safety and legal prosecution scare many people away, ultimately leading to them opting to keep drug crimes quiet.
But it doesn’t have to be that way; it is possible to report drug dealing anonymously.
Crime Stoppers is an effective national program that collects anonymous crime tips. Anyone who wants to report drug activity can contact Crime Stoppers via phone or online. A national tip line is available 24/7, and the program also operates out of local offices. Witnesses to drug crimes can make an anonymous phone call or fill out an online form. What's more, you can rest easy knowing that all Crime Stoppers workers are trained to protect the caller's identity and, instead of caller ID, all incoming phone calls are assigned a numerical code.
Crime Stoppers isn't the only way you can report drug dealing or use. Alternate options include contacting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) or the Department of Justice (DOJ). Both have websites and phone numbers to anonymously report drug activity or submit tips through a hotline.
- As of March 2019, Crime Stoppers' efforts have resulted in over 746,000 arrests, clearing out over one million legal cases.1
Additional Reporting Information to Consider
When reporting drug activity, it will also help to keep the following in mind:
- To further ensure anonymity, callers can dial *67 before calling any agency or organization. This blocks the number of the caller.
- Reporting activity to the local police is also an option, but anonymity may be harder to keep.
- It is important to remember, when making a report, you may be asked to provide personal information, but this is completely voluntary. You have the right to remain anonymous if that is what you want.
What to Include in Your Tip
Any information you can provide to the authorities that will prevent further drug activity is absolutely helpful. The following are a few details that will ensure your anonymous tip is as effective as possible. If you have the information, try to include:
- The address where you suspect drug activity.
- Full names of the people you suspect.
- Related vehicles—make, model, license plate.
- When people come and go, how long they stay, how often they appear.
- Information about any packages being exchanged.
- If the location is a house, provide the name (or names) of people living there.
- Are there children? Dogs?
- Is there anything else authorities should know about the location?
- Crime Stoppers USA. (2019). Total Stats.