Hello from your friends at Silent Observer, and welcome to your end-of-year newsletter! In this edition, you’ll find:
Breaking the Silence: A brief state of affairs in 2021 for Silent Observer.
In Recent News: Impactful announcements from our team.
Meaningful Programming: A group of our community initiatives to explore.
Your Support: What your contributions mean to us.
We at Silent Observer thank you for your ongoing involvement and support as we work to keep Greater Grand Rapids a safe place to live, work, and play. Read on to see how we’ve impacted our communities so far in 2021!
Breaking the Silence
Gun violence continues to plague our community.
Our residents do not feel safe.
Unfortunately, witnesses and others are hesitant to come forward because of fear of retaliation, fear of getting involved with the police, and the code of silence. Therefore, a functional and efficient Silent Observer Program is more important than ever. Can you imagine what would happen if Silent Observer did not exist? There are no other means for the community to provide tips anonymously… Silent Observer is our community’s alternative to silence.
We have received 1,670 tips so far in 2021, and tip information assisted police in solving these notable cases:
- A man wanted for a triple homicide in Jackson, MI and was on the run.
- An animal cruelty case where the suspect was also hoarding animals
- $86,000 in heroin, meth, and cocaine confiscated due to one tip
- A man who broke parole by threatening others with gun violence
- An attempt to sell non-existent PS5’s on Facebook Marketplace
- There are multiple open investigations about violent crime right now that Silent Observer tips are assisting with that hopefully will come to an end soon with arrests.
This is why we operate. Saving lives. Removing dangerous criminals from our streets. Helping victims of crime see justice.
Supporting the Shield
To show appreciation and support for our law enforcement officials in Kent County, we hosted “Supporting the Shield” events.
Silent Observer provided a meal to every police department in Kent County to demonstrate our community’s appreciation for their tireless efforts in keeping us safe. This has been a challenging year for law enforcement with the defunding movement – even though violent crime is increasing. Our officers are maxed out as they continue to do their job in a professional manner, all without the manpower and support they desperately need. Supporting the Shield served as a tribute and a heartfelt thanks to ALL law enforcement officers in Kent County. Thank you to our wonderful sponsors who made this happen:
CSUSA Board Announcement
Chris Cameron, Executive Director of Silent Observer, has been elected Chair of the Crime Stoppers USA (CSUSA) Board of Directors.
CSUSA is a volunteer-operated membership organization that supports law enforcement agencies nationwide. Primarily, CSUSA trains its members in the use of best practices and effective operating standards for collecting information that is shared in coordination with open investigations.
To date, the tips collected by CSUSA members have led to 812,105 arrests solving 14,769 homicides. More than $117 million has been paid out in rewards, with total property and drugs recovered totaling more than $4.2 billion.
“It is an honor to be able to help lead the CSUSA Board to continue to do and offer great things to Crime Stoppers Programs across the country,” says Chris Cameron. “I am also thrilled to be able to represent Silent Observer and West Michigan in such a meaningful way.” Chris has served on the CSUSA Board of Directors since 2008 and has been the Executive Director of Silent Observer for the past 26 years.
For more information about Crime Stoppers USA, visit www.crimestoppersusa.org
Crime Victims’ Rights Week
Every year during Crime Victim’s Rights Week, Silent Observer collaborates with the Kent County Victim Witness Unit to put on a Candlelight Vigil in recognition of all victims of crime. Those attending submit the names of loved ones they wish to be remembered, and those names are read out loud during the event followed by the ringing of a bell after each name. This is a very touching event and so healing for those that attend. We provide a rose to everyone there and refreshments. Those in attendance find comfort from each other as well.
Project Night Lights
Silent Observer started Project Night Lights 3 years ago to show love and support to the kiddos at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. We could not put on this event without our caring First Responders who show up every month, flashing their lights, along with our wonderful residents, to put a smile on these children’s faces. Project Night Lights occurs the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 8:30 p.m.
Fast 50 Campus Safety Program
Twenty-four years ago, Silent Observer developed a campus safety program allowing students to take an active role in keeping their school a safe place to learn and socialize. Still relevant and very successful, Fast 50 has been a model for Crime Stoppers and Silent Observer programs around the country. Our installment offers students a safe and anonymous way to report crime occurring in their school. Students can also tell us if a student is experiencing emotional challenges, harming themselves, contemplating suicide or experiencing problems at home. A reward component is offered – either $50 or $100.
Public Safety Alliance
Silent Observer is co-chairing a committee, called the Public Safety Alliance, made up of Pastors and community members who live in the city of Grand Rapids. Our goal is to create safe spaces and offer relevant workshops for our youth. We also hold events where the public and law enforcement can interact in a positive way.
We continue to work with victims of crime and have a goal of highlighting all of the 2021 unsolved homicides in Kent County and offer rewards of $2,500 to solve these cases and make the perpetrators answer to their crimes. The shootings in the City of GR continues to increase so we continue to encourage the community to come forward so these criminals can no longer spread fear in our neighborhoods.
We Need Your Support!
If you like what we do, please support our efforts.
Silent Observer is a 501c3 non-profit organization that is only as effective as our resources allow. We would appreciate your consideration of making a year-end donation to Silent Observer so we can continue to partner with our community and police to keep Greater Grand Rapids a safe place to live, work, and play.
Easy ways to show your support:
- Make an online donation at www.silentobserver.org/donate.
- Mail a check to Silent Observer, PO Box 230321, Grand Rapids, MI 49523.
- Make Silent Observer your charity of choice at smile.amazon.com. If you purchase items on Amazon through their charitable website, a percentage of your purchase will go to Silent Observer.
- Support us on Giving Tuesday via Silent Observer’s Facebook page.
Your support in numbers:
- $50 funds one reward for removing drugs from our schools.
- $100 funds one reward for removing a weapon from school grounds.
- $250 covers the operating costs of our 24/7 tip line for three days, accepting tips via phone, web, text, or mobile app.
- $500 covers the cost of a “You Know Who Killed Me” billboard to help a family find answers and justice in the death of a loved one.
Thank you for your consideration!
Wishing you all a wonderful Holiday Season,