In the last six years, the New York City Police Department and programs like Crime Stoppers have paid at least $18 million for information that might assist in criminal investigations, reports the New York Times. Most of the money, $16.5 million, went to confidential informants. Another $1.7 million was paid through public reward programs managed and funded by the private New York City Police Foundation, like Crime Stoppers, Operation Gun Stop and an anti-graffiti initiative. The data were released by the Police Department after a freedom of information request and a lawsuit.
How much an informant or a tipster is paid can vary greatly. Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $2,000 for information that helps solve violent crimes, with a Police Foundation group meeting once a month to decide how much to award for various successful tips, based on criteria like the severity of the crime. For information leading to a graffiti-related arrest, rewards can reach $500, though most typically range from $200 to $300. “Let's face it: Some of the people who call us are probably close to the criminal world themselves, and they might be getting rid of competition or people they've been doing work with,” said Gregg Roberts of the Police Foundation.