Year in Review 2022 | Silent Observer

Silent Observer is the oldest Crime Stoppers Program in the Country

Silent Observer celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022. In recognition of Silent Observer being the oldest anonymous tip taking program in the country, we highlighted 50 unsolved cases giving the community the opportunity to give anonymous tips to help solve these crimes. It was a very successful endeavor which resulted in many arrests of those wanted for some serious crimes.

Silent Observer increased reward amounts in 2022

2022 brought an increase in violent crimes in the greater Grand Rapids area – most notably homicides, shootings, and armed robberies. To address this uptick in violence, Silent Observer increased its reward amounts between 28% and 50% in the hopes higher rewards might encourage those with information to come forward. We understand there is fear of retaliation from those involved in crime, so we continue to remind our residents that Silent Observer provides a safe and anonymous way to speak out against crime. Those who contact Silent Observer can never, will never be identified. When tipsters share what they know, they bring the crime out into the light of day. There, it can be seen and those perpetrators can answer to their charges.

Silent Observer Now Covering Ionia County

Last fall, Ionia County Law Enforcement asked Silent Observer to bring our anonymous tip taking operations and initiatives to Ionia County. Silent Observer will now be partnering with both Ionia County and Kent County in order to empower community members in both counties to report their information about crime anonymously. Silent Observer is thrilled to start this partnership. Sheriff Noll from the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office stated “The Ionia County Law Enforcement Agencies are excited to team up with Silent Observer to provide a resource for citizens of Ionia County to report crimes and information anonymously. Our communities help in fighting crime is extremely important and necessary to continue providing a safe and healthy place for all to live and work.”

Breaking the Silence

Silent Observer tipsters were invaluable in 2022. They provided tips that led to the arrest of 55 individuals involved in crime in our community and cleared 78 cases. We authorized $28,500 in rewards, which is the highest amount in our 50-year history. Tips helped police recover 12 weapons from our streets and recover 6 vehicles. Value of cash property and drugs recovered from criminals totaled $264,548.

Pictured: Grand Rapids residents gather for a candlelight vigil to remember family and friends lost to violent crime.

Cases solved with the help of Silent Observer tips include:

  • • Four tragic homicides that occurred in the City of Grand Rapids
  • • The location of a person wanted in a deadly hit and run
  • • The arrest of a juvenile in possession of an assault weapon who threatened to shoot classmates
  • • A felonious assault on a police officer
  • • Three people who broke into a Kent County car dealership
  • • Two people arrested on serious warrants
  • • A juvenile charged with 8 home invasions, 3 car thefts, and 8 vehicle larcenies
  • • A man arrested for stabbing two victims multiple times at a local retailer

This is why we operate. Saving lives. Removing dangerous criminals from our streets. Helping victims of crime see justice.

Save the Dates!

Silent Observer Golf Outing – June 19th, 2023

Save the Date for the Annual Coldwell Banker/Silent Observer Charity Golf Outing to be held Monday, June 19, 2023 at the beautiful Stonewater Country Club. Coldwell Banker has sponsored this event for 28 years on our behalf to raise the funds needed to sustain our program and we’d LOVE you to participate!

Why participate? For 50 years, Silent Observer has:

  • • Encouraged the cooperation and involvement of our residents to make West Michigan safer
  • • Assisted victims of crime find justice
  • • Protected families and neighborhoods in Kent County
  • • Built a safer Kent County by giving people a safe and anonymous way to assist police solve major crimes
  • • Assisted police in solving crimes like murder, rape, assault, crimes against children, kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary; stopped teens contemplating suicide; locate fugitives; and have made schools safer by getting weapons and drugs out of classrooms

For more information, download our golf brochure. To register visit

We hope to see you out there!

More Events to Remember

  • • Project Night Lights – 2nd Wednesday of every month at 8:30 P.M.
  • • Crime Victim’s Rights Week Candlelight Vigil – April 27th at 6:00 P.M. at 63rd District Court.
  • • Public Safety Alliance Open Gym – 2nd & 4th Tuesday of each month, for ages 17-24.
    • At Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church

Initiatives & Engagement

Fast 50 Campus Program

Silent Observer partners with local schools to allow students to play an active role in keeping their school and classmates safe. Fast 50 offers students a safe and anonymous way to report crime 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.

Active involvement in the Kent County Welcome Plan

Silent Observer actively partners with other local organizations to ensure that those new to the United States feel welcomed and to build trust, connections, and solutions that serve and protect the community, while embracing public safety as a collaborative effort.

Pictured: First responders stationed outside Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for a Project Night Lights event

Project Night Lights

Silent Observer is proud to bring Project Night Lights, a partnership with area first responders, to the children at the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. Once a month, first responders surround the Hospital and flash their lights as a way of brightening up bedtime for these young patients who are facing the fight of their lives. In the hospital, the patients excitedly flick their flashlights on and off as a way of acknowledging the support and love they are feeling. The purpose is to show these young patients that Silent Observer, first responders and the community are standing beside them. Project Night Lights is the 2nd Wednesday of every month at 8:30 p.m. This is just another way Silent Observer fights for the health and safety of our community.

Candlelight Vigil

Silent Observer partnered with the Kent County Victim Witness Unit to host a candlelight vigil during Crime Victim’s Rights Week. Families provided the names of loved ones who were victims to be read during the vigil, and more than 100 names were submitted. This vigil is all about hope for the future, remembering those who are victims of crime and keeping memories alive.

Pictured: Young adults attend an open gym session at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church with Silent Observer

Public Safety Alliance Open Gym

The Public Safety Alliance began as a group of diverse community members concerned about the impact this increase in violence would have on youth, young adults, as well as the quality of life within our Grand Rapids neighborhoods. Since 2021 Silent Observer has helped coordinated the Public Safety Alliance and its activities but the stand-out is the open gym at Plymouth Heights Christian Reformed Church. On the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m., young adults between 17-24 play basketball for 2 hours and have made new friends, and have had good, clean fun. This open gym is open to anyone.

We Need Your Support

The reality is that whether we live here, work here, go to school here, have our investments here, or plan to retire here, the work of Silent Observer is about all of us – our lives, our families, and the safety of all the things we love. Silent Observer is a resource that empowers everyone to take an active part to secure the safety and security of each individual living in our community.

Pictured: A member of the Cosplay Crusaders poses with children at a Silent Observer event

Your donation to Silent Observer ensures that community members across West Michigan have the safety, security, and support they need to flourish in their community and beyond. If you like what we do and believe in our mission, please consider supporting Silent Observer financially in 2023 so that we can continue to keep West Michigan safe in partnering with law enforcement, the media, and the community.

Easy ways to show your support:

  • • Make an online donation by clicking here.
  • • Mail a check to: Silent Observer. PO Box 230321, Grand Rapids, MI 49523

Silent Observer is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Thank you for your consideration!