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New Tip Line Allows Callers To Remain Anonymous When Reporting Crime

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Crime Commission announced Tuesday a new anonymous crime reporting hotline that is targeted at the city's most dangerous communities, in an effort to prevent crimes and help solve those already committed.

Andrew Henning, General Counsel of the Chicago Crime Commission, said his group is sending 90,000 postcards to residents in Chicago's most violent neighborhoods, letting them know of a new tip line they can call to report gun and gang violence, as well as other crimes. The tip line is completely anonymous, if the caller desires. WBBM's Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports.

"They have the choice to block their number, to call from a number they may not be called back from, and they have the choice to leave their number to call back," Henning said.

"It is the intention of this initiative to enable Chicagoans who are reluctant to call the police with another option to report a crime – including gun and gang violent – or alert authorities of criminal activity in their neighborhoods," according to J.R. Davis, Chairman and President of the Chicago Crime Commission, in a statement.

Karen Flowers, Associate Special Agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, acknowledges there are a number of ways to report crimes, including 911 and online to Chicago Police, but she pleads with residents to report crimes somehow.

"You hear and see things, that we will never hear or see," Flowers said. "We can't do it without you."

Besides calling 911, reporting crimes online or texting the Chicago Police Department, one-time federal Drug Enforcement Czar Peter Bensinger said the Chicago Crime Commission hotline is another way to report crimes anonymously.

"They can call the Crime Commission help line and hotline and not worry about whether or not they will be identified by an agency involved in law enforcement looking at what they have been doing," Bensinger said.

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Chicago Crime Commissioner anonymous hotline postcards (WBBM/Craig Dellimore)

The Chicago Crime Commission number is 1-888-393-6646. Callers will be asked to leave detailed information on a voicemail and the Chicago Crime Commission will forward the information to the appropriate law enforcement agency. If a crime is in progress, callers are told hang up and call 911.

The Anonymous Crime Reporting Hotline is available to anyone in the Chicagoland area. The crimes that can be reported include murder, sexual assault, gun violence, gang activity, hate crimes, as well as other violent or property crimes, according to Davis.

"That being said, starting today [Tuesday], we are launching an extensive marketing campaign in the Auburn Gresham, North Lawndale, and Washington Park neighborhoods to make residents aware of and encourage them to use the Hotline" Henning concluded.

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