Anonymous tipline launches in Eau Claire County

Crime Stoppers’ debut allows citizens to report crime without giving up identity

More stories from Lauren French



The Altoona Police Department is Lieutenant David Livingston’s home base. Livingston is one of four coordinators in charge of the Eau Claire County Crime Stoppers.

Carlyn Johnson contributed to the reporting of this story.

There’s hardly a crime that happens without someone knowing about it.

That’s what Lieutenant David Livingston of the Altoona Police Department had to say about the motive behind Eau Claire County Crime Stoppers, an anonymous tip hotline established this month.

“When [police] are at a dead-end investigation,” Livingston said, “you don’t know where else to turn or who to talk to, the training is going to be to throw in the Crime Stopper card.”

Tipsters can use the anonymous hotline (715-874-TIPS), the mobile app (P3 TIPS) or the nonprofit’s website to report information on a crime in the county. A call center in Texas receives the tip, cleanses it of all information that might give away the identity of the caller and then transfers the clue to law enforcement in Eau Claire County.

Livingston, or one of three other coordinators, assigns someone to follow up on the tip, Livingston said. He said if the tip leads to an arrest, the tip-giver can earn a cash reward. Rewards – funded through community fundraisers and donations – vary depending on the severity of the crime solved, Livingston said.

Livingston said Crime Stoppers is ideal for those who want to report a crime but don’t want the subpoena that might come along with identifying themselves to law enforcement.

“As long as we get that information from Crime Stoppers and we solve that crime,” Livingston said, “it’s a win-win because [tip-givers] don’t have to testify. We don’t know who they are.”

Eau Claire County isn’t the first to implement this tactic – Crime Stoppers as a whole has local chapters across the nation. According to the Crime Stoppers USA database, over 12,000 arrests have been made in connection to Crime Stoppers tips in Wisconsin alone.

Since its launch in Eau Claire County, the nonprofit has received one call containing three separate tips, Livingston said. He said the tips are currently under investigation, so police haven’t made any arrests yet.

While Crime Stoppers is new to the Eau Claire area, some residents can see benefits to the program.

Junior human resources student Alana Sundby lives close to the 700 block of Menomonie Street where a drive-by shooting occurred last month. While she said she didn’t see or hear any of the shots, she thinks the idea of an anonymous hotline is a useful idea.

“If you know something that is going on and you don’t feel comfortable saying more information,” Sundby said, “… [an anonymous tipline] should be available to you as a resource for your safety and other people’s safety.”