Union County, NJ Crime Stoppers launched its Campus Crime Stoppers program in all county middle and high schools at the beginning of the 2011-12 school year.

It is the first formal and comprehensive school tips program in New Jersey, enlisting the assistance and support of students in fifth through 12th grade to keep county schools and communities safe from crime, says a CentralNewJersey.com report. It is administered by Union County Crime Stoppers, a volunteer group of citizens, and is supported by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and the law- enforcement community.

Any student, parent, teacher or school staff member who has information about a crime or dangerous activity that has occurred, is occurring or will occur at any school can anonymously contact Campus Crime Stoppers pass along what they know, the report says.

The organization anticipates that it also will receive tips or concerns involving school-related issues, such as bullying, cyber-bullying or information about inappropriate material being posted on Facebook or another social networking sites, the report says. In that instance, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office and Union County Police Department — which monitors the program — will forward the information to the district, specifically the superintendent of schools or head security officer, the report says.

Public schools have received the materials packet, including a five-minute DVD created by Union County Crime Stoppers that will be shown to the students first, explaining the program, says the report.  Immediately afterward, bookmarks, brochures and cards containing the contact information will be distributed to each student. Posters have been hung throughout schools with the same information. 

While targeted for use during School Violence Awareness Week — Oct. 17 to 21 — each school will determine when and how to introduce the program. Materials are being prepared for parochial and charter schools, says the report.