Local police officials said Crimeline was a valuable resource for their departments but the number of tips they received dropped sharply.
“It was certainly a good tool,” Salem Deputy police Chief Shawn Patten said. “It was a great way to get the word out to the public about crimes. We wished more people had called in with tips.”
Derry police Capt. Vern Thomas agreed.
“I think it was helpful to have as a resource,” he said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t provide us with many tips that we need to solve crimes.”
Thomas said many people prefer to submit tips through the police department’s website rather than call.
Manchester police Officer Paul Rondeau said while other New Hampshire Crimelines have seen tips plummet in recent years, his department’s program has been very successful.
The Manchester Crimeline has helped solve 3,500 crimes since 1981, he said. Rondeau attributed the program’s success to a strong, dedicated board of directors and a lot of help from the community.
“Crimeline has helped take a lot of drugs off the street,” he said. “It’s been very successful.”
He did not want to speculate on why Crimeline hasn’t been as successful in other communities. Rondeau said the advent of caller ID has probably discouraged many people from phoning in tips.
Four years ago, the Manchester police department averaged about 120 phone tips a year. It now receives about 400 tips annually through use of its Crimeline website, he said.