Social and economic impact of Crime Stoppers in Australia
Measuring the collective impact of the community voice in solving and preventing crime
Together for good – the client challenge
Crime Stoppers is Australia’s most trusted and pre-eminent information receiving service that encourages people to share what they know about unsolved crimes and suspicious activity without the obligation of having to say who they are.
Crime Stoppers establishes an independent link between Police, media and the community to encourage people to provide information through a dedicated 24/7 national free-call hotline and website portal. Information is then provided to Police and other law enforcement bodies for investigation and follow-up as needed.
Every two minutes across Australia someone contacts Crime Stoppers, and the information they provide directly leads to an average of 100 apprehensions by Police every week across the nation.
In addition, Crime Stoppers and its state and territory-based jurisdictional programs conduct a range of crime awareness and prevention initiatives designed to achieve a safer Australia.
Crime Stoppers Australia engaged Cube Group to articulate and quantify the nature, scale and value of Crime Stoppers’ impact on the Australian community.
Bringing the right thinking and people to the table
With our partner, Geografia, the quantified benefits of Crime Stoppers included harm prevented as a result of drugs seized, the value of property returned and the value of crimes prevented through charges laid related to domestic violence, homicide, assault, sexual assault, motor vehicle theft prevented, burglary, robbery and theft. The value of volunteer labour and efficiencies achieved through call centre processing times and the cost of labour compared to alternatives were also quantified.
Figure 1: Items included in our measurement of economic benefit
To understand the social impact of Crime Stoppers, we also created and delivered an online survey to a representative sample of the Australian population and interviewed key stakeholders representing Police, cultural groups, media, academics, benefactors, sponsors and local government.
Figure 2: Our approach to understanding the social impact of Crime Stoppers
“It was incredibly rewarding to describe the economic and social value Crime Stoppers delivers to the community. Through supporting community participation in crime prevention, Crime Stoppers contributes to feelings of safety and encourages civic responsibility that supports social cohesion.”
The positive change being delivered
Understanding the social and economic impact of activities and investments is an important tool for public value organisations and systems. With crime – and the fear of crime – impacting on community confidence, the critical insights determined by the research was able to integrate non-monetary social, community and environmental benefits to demonstrate the intrinsic true value of Crime Stoppers.
The research found that the social and economic impact of Crime Stoppers in Australia was substantial:
82% of all Australians feel safer knowing the organisation is in place across the country;
81% of Australians believe the option to remain anonymous is incredibly important;
The economic value of Crime Stoppers to Australia was estimated as $170m, with an additional $66m in added value from drugs being seized, property returned, and crimes being prevented;
Every dollar invested in Crime Stoppers delivers an outstanding economic return of $11.15; and
77% of Australians actively want to help prevent crimes from happening.
This report showcased the real impact of Crime Stoppers in creating a safer Australia and confirm that it continues to empower the community by encouraging people to speak up without having to compromise their own safety or get involved.
The results were presented at the National Crime Stoppers Australia Conference in October 2018.
Insights for inquisitive minds
Quantifying the economic impact of a service is always reflected by the quality of the data available – complete and consistent data demonstrating change will help capture the true value of impact.
The monetary value of many benefits delivered by services can often not be described. It is just as important that we describe these benefits qualitatively and deliver a complete picture of the value provided by a service. Without this, we are withholding an important part of the broader story which deserves to be shared.
When surveying to understand social impact, we needed to understand how empowered the community feels to participate in crime prevention. Therefore, questions on community attitudes towards participation in crime prevention and supporting factors were positioned before mentioning the service name. This way, responses were not biased by immediate recall of Crime Stoppers.