A newly published 264-page book chronicling the history of Crime Stoppers features several crimes that have occurred through the years in Guam and Saipan.
The book—Crime Stoppers The Inside Story—co-authored by Greg MacAleese, the founder of Crime Stoppers, and retired reporter Cal Millar, not only details how the program was formed 40 years ago in the United States, but also documents its expansion around the globe.
In the book MacAleese explains how Crime Stoppers began as an initiative in September 1976 to combat an out-of-control crime problem in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but it soon spread to other cities and towns. Today Crime Stoppers operates in more than 1,600 communities around the world.
As the crime-solving program expanded, the book tells how MacAleese was invited to the Northern Mariana Islands in 1993 to help promote fledgling Crime Stoppers programs in Guam and Saipan.
MacAleese says in the book that the visit to the area was his first official duty after being named executive director of Crime Stoppers International and described it as the highlight of the three years he spent managing Crime Stoppers global operations.
“Guam launched Crime Stoppers in 1985 and Saipan’s program, known as Northern Mariana Islands Crime Stoppers, came into existence four years later,” the book states. “Both were active and well run programs, but they asked me to provide broad based training for volunteers and law enforcement personnel to show how Crime Stoppers could become even more effective in solving crime. When each program began there was strong support from the police, but Guam had the benefit of a commercial television station, a regional newspaper, and a number of radio stations.
“On the other hand, Saipan didn’t have the assistance of a television station to produce re-enactments and promotion was mainly generated by a small newspaper and just a few radio stations. Saipan’s program even resorted to putting up Crime of the Week appeals on roadside posts, much the same as the reward posters that were tacked to trees and sides of buildings in the days of the Wild West in the Unites States.”
The book recalls how Crime Stoppers played a role to thwart a robbery at Guam’s Treasury Department in August 1991 and details some high profile cases, including the mysterious disappearance in Saipan of two sisters, 10-year-old Faloma Luhk and 9-year-old Meleina.
The pair vanished May 25, 2011 while waiting for a school bus outside their grandparent’s home in the Santa Lourdes area of As Teo and both police and Crime Stoppers continue to appeal for information to help find them.
Authorities are also hoping to get leads on a series of unexplained murders occurring through the years, which have claimed numerous victims in Saipan’s Chinese community.
The book explains that it was actually Jerry VanLancker, an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation who brought the idea of crime Stoppers to the area while stationed in Guam. He worked with Sergeant Phil Dennis to set up the program and the book says the first tip came on Aug. 26, 1985. Since that time Crime Stoppers has solved numerous crimes, including homicides, rapes, robberies, and drug trafficking offences in the area.
“I think people will find the book a fascinating read,” said MacAleese, who moved to the Philippines after retiring from the Albuquerque Police Department where he was working as a detective when he came up with the concept of Crime Stoppers.
MacAleese said he is surprised at the success of Crime Stoppers, which has solved more than 1.5 million cases, led to the arrest of almost one million suspects, been responsible for the seizure of $10 billion in illegal drugs, and netted in excess of $2 billion in stolen property.
The book, available from Amazon.com, says Crime Stoppers is recognized along with fingerprinting and DNA as the three top innovations in modern-day policing and considered one of the best anti-crime programs ever created.