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History

HOW IT ALL STARTED WITH AN IDEA FROM ONE MAN

When ayoung college student, Michael Carmen, was shot to death during a robbery at anAlbuquerque, New Mexico gas station in July 1976, Detective Greg MacAleese hadno idea who was responsible for the killing. No witnesses came forward and itappeared the senseless and brutal shotgun slaying would remain a mystery.

MacAleese,who worked for a newspaper before joining the Albuquerque Police Department,knew something innovative would be necessary to encourage the public to getinvolved and help solve the murder.

Heconceived the idea of producing a video re-enactment of the homicide,guaranteed anonymity for anyone who was willing to call him with informationand put up a reward from his own pocket to encourage someone to provide a leadthat would help identify those responsible for the murder of Carmen.

It seemedalmost unnecessary to take such extraordinary steps to solve the killing ofCarmen. It was a case that should have outraged the community and brought forthmany witnesses.

Carmen wasonly two weeks away from getting married and had taken an extra shift at thegas station to give a co-worker the night off. When police responded to anemergency call they found Carmen gravely wounded. He's been shot in the abdomenat point blank range with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Themedical staff kept him alive for four hours and during that time he tried totell detectives who were responsible, but he just didn't have the strength toform the words.

At thattime Albuquerque had one of the highest per capita crime rates in the countryand people were afraid to help the police.

MacAleeseplan to identify those responsible for killing Carmen worked. Within a fewhours after the recreation of the murder was broadcast on television stationKOAT, he received a phone call. The video image had triggered the memory of aperson who heard a loud bang in the vicinity of the gas bar and then saw a cardriving off. The caller told MacAleese the vehicle belonged to a resident in anearby apartment complex.

Throughinvestigation MacAleese and a team of detectives arrested two men within 72hours and charged them with the murder of Carmen and a string of armedrobberies.

MacAleesereceived other calls following the reenactment, including one that allowedpolice to solve the rape of a young woman. Realizing that this type of programmight be useful in fighting crime, MacAleese convinced the Albuquerque PoliceDepartment to allow a group of citizens to establish the first Crime Stoppersprogram. For his efforts Detective MacAleese was named one of the people in the1970's that changed the face of the United States and was also named thecountry's Police officer of the Year. It's also interesting to note that sinceadopting Crime Stoppers Albuquerque's crime rate has dropped significantly andno longer is ranked in the list of 20 cities with the highest per capita crimerate.

Crime Stoppers has now developed into anInternational corporation that now reaches around the world. 


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