FIRST ON FOX – Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody spoke with Fox News Digital Wednesday ahead of announcing a new initiative with “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh, encouraging residents and tourists in the state “to participate in the solving crime process” by using a uniform, anonymous crime reporting line to deter growing national crime trends.
“This really sets Florida apart from other cities and states across the nation,” Moody told Fox News Digital beforehand. “We want to encourage our citizens to trust law enforcement, to report emergencies unlike other places that are saying, you know, even with robberies, don’t report emergencies, report them to this non-emergency line. We believe that if something is an emergency, if someone has robbed you by force, that you need to report that immediately because someone else’s safety may be in danger. So keep calling 911 with robbery and other dangerous crimes.
“And at the same time, we want to foster this spirit of individuals and citizens feeling like guardians of protectors of their communities are part of a team with law enforcement, which is why we are encouraging those relationships, fostering trust in that community, and encouraging to join this team with John Walsh and Florida Crime Stoppers and participate in anonymous crime reporting,” she said.
When she first came into office in January 2019, Moody said Florida had 27 different crime reporting lines, and Floridians needed to look up the specific region’s Crime Stoppers number to report a crime. Moody and the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers first launched **TIPS, a state uniform anonymous crime tip reporting line, in October 2020, allowing citizens to simply dial the six-key tipline on a cellphone to be automatically rerouted to the nearest regional Crime Stoppers office.
In February 2022, Crime Stoppers USA adopted the phone number for nationwide use, Moody explained. So now, anyone in the United States can report crime anonymously with this easy-to-remember number and possibly collect a reward for tips that lead to an arrest. In 2021, Moody announced a near-doubling of award money for anonymous tips in murder cases that lead to an arrest – an increase that took the maximum allowable award amount from $5,000 to $9,500 for tips provided to the Florida Association of Crime Stoppers.
The state attorney general and Walsh, the famous victims’ advocate and host of “America’s Most Wanted,” the reality program that helped law enforcement capture more than 1,200 fugitives and brought home more than 50 missing children, plan to announce in Palm Beach Wednesday a new partnership encouraging Americans, tourists in Florida, and native Floridians to use **TIPS “to be proactive in helping law enforcement solve cases by reporting information related to crimes.”
Moody compared Florida to other states, such as New York and Illinois, which she says are “enacting policies that make no sense if the goal is to offer a stable and safe, strong community.”
“The policies they’re enacting are in fact undermining that sense of security in communities,” Moody told Fox News Digital. “In Florida, we watch these trends and whether it’s organized retail theft, where retailers are reporting historic losses from theft, or whether that is an escalation in some types of violent crimes. We are consistently looking for ways that we can enact policies that will push back those trends and prevent those from taking root in Florida.”
“And so while other cities and states are discouraging people from reporting emergencies or maybe not engaging their citizens to be a part of the crime fighting and solving process, Florida is doing the opposite,” she continued. “We’re enacting policies that are cracking down on organized retail theft that is pushing back on crime, making sure we’re law and order state and our policies reflect that, and encouraging our citizens, our law-abiding citizens to team up with us to make their community safer.”
The attorney general also emphasized the importance of encouraging citizens to utilize the tip line as Florida leads in migration, breaks tourism records and leads in new business formations.
“And all of this is because when people come here, when they start a business here, they know we’re committed to protecting our communities and offering a stable way of life because law and order is one of our top priorities,” Moody told Fox News Digital.
“Florida has enjoyed historic crime lows, but we are not immune from national crime trends,” Moody continued, referencing retail thefts and violent crime. “And so it goes back to being proactive and aggressive and pushing back on these trends.”
“Florida, you will always see leading in new initiatives and thinking outside the box how we can be more proactive and fighting against trends,” she added. “We’ll never sit back and let them take us over. We’ll always be pushing against that headwind. And this is just one more example.”
Moody praised Walsh as “a symbol of fierce, passionate crime fighting and crime solving for decades because of his tragic personal experiences,” describing him as “no better person to launch our campaign to foster citizen engaged crime solving through **TIPS here in Florida.”