Want to help catch criminals? CrimeStoppers is looking for volunteers

For more than 40 years, volunteers at Crimestoppers have helped catch criminals thanks to the public's help and now they need more volunteers.
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 4:27 PM HST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2023 at 5:48 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For more than 40 years, volunteers at Honolulu CrimeStoppers have helped catch criminals ― thanks to the public’s help.

Now the nonprofit is looking for more people to answer the call to serve the community.

Calls to the tip line come into a small office in Honolulu Police headquarters, where 19 volunteers ― mostly retirees ― rotate on shifts. They take down details from callers responding to media alerts about a crime or suspect.

Those details are then passed on to the appropriate police unit.

Volunteers vetted about 3,000 calls last year, which led to 15 arrests and the whereabouts of about a dozen missing people. Tips on average result in about 40 arrests a year.

Volunteers also provide a patient and empathetic ear to people who just need to vent.

“The most recent calls are the guys who are frustrated and says, ‘There are guys who are firing, doing fireworks and stuff and make noise I call the police and they do nothing’,” said Ryan Lau, a volunteer for more than six years.

Volunteers don’t enforce the law but are a vital bridge between the public and police.

“Every day is not the same, you’re going to take in tips, for instance, one day on a sex assault another day on a home invasion robbery, another day on a shooting,” said Sgt. Chris Kim, of Honolulu CrimeStoppers.

For 77-year-old volunteer Frances Camacho, it gives her purpose and keeps her connected to her faith. “This has come to be an enlightenment for me. It really has,” Camacho said. “I’m just so glad. And I never thought HPD.”

Rather than use an out-of-state call center, Kim said local volunteers better understand Hawaii’s unique geography and names.

“As long as we have people willing to step up and volunteer with our program, hey, why not keep it here? Why not keep it local?” Kim said.

Unlike tipsters who are eligible for cash rewards if there’s an arrest, volunteers don’t get paid.

But they say it’s not always about money.

“Being of service and give back, give back to the community,” Lau said. “It’s rewarding once you get the guy caught.”

For information on how to become a volunteer, click here, scroll down to the CrimeStoppers Volunteer listing and email your resume. Candidates must pass an interview and background check. Multi-lingual applicants are welcome.

Volunteers will receive training and should commit at least five hours a week.

Interested candidates should be patient, a good listener and willing to ask a lot of questions.

They must also comply with HPD policies, including confidentiality.

“It actually allows people to kind of get some insight as to how investigations are done,” Kim said.

“Volunteers are going to be taking very sensitive information, there are sometimes going to be things being told that maybe isn’t always, you’re not always, gonna be comfortable with.”