Drug trafficking is more than just a criminal justice problem; it often spreads systematically to American communities where street-level drug dealing creates more than just a nuisance. In some cases, retail sales of controlled substances can attract criminal elements and violence.
People who do not want the blight and danger of drug dealing in their neighborhoods will often refrain from reporting this type of criminal activity for various reasons, the risk of being targeted for violent reprisal being the most obvious. Another reason is that individuals who do the reporting may worry about getting ensnared in a criminal investigation; this is often the case with people who are occasional drug users themselves, or who may have a criminal record.
As with anything else in life, reporting crime could have consequences; however, individuals who are directly impacted by crime should think of themselves as victims. To this effect, all law enforcement agencies in the United States are expected to have programs in place to protect victims, but this does not mean that information does not leak out of police departments.
When it comes to criminal activity at the community level, looking the other way or waiting on others to report the situation to law enforcement may only exacerbate the problem. Anonymous reporting is a better option, but it should be done properly. Walking into a police station and requesting anonymity or immunity is not a good idea because officers and prosecutors will want to use the person making the report a witness; moreover and as previously explain, what happens in the precinct does not always stay in the precinct.
Anonymous Reporting Through Crime Stoppers USA
In North America, the best way to report drug dealing and staying anonymous is to call Crime Stoppers, a national network that operates on a non-profit basis while collaborating with law enforcement agencies at federal, state and county levels. Crime Stoppers USA has been operating since the mid-1970s, and it has an excellent track record of protecting the identities of callers. The main telephone number operated by Crime Stoppers is 1-800-222-TIPS. All information is forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency in a confidential manner; callers are also given a case number that they can use to check on the status of their tips.
Reporting drug dealing to Crime Stoppers is ideal for drug dens and street-level activity. Individuals who have information about high-level trafficking such as international smuggling conducted by transnational cartels may be better off reporting tips to the Drug Enforcement Agency.
The DEA.gov website has a link where concerned individuals can submit tips online by means of a web form; however, staying anonymous in this case will require the use of a proxy server or virtual private network. Using a personal smartphone or home computer will negate all anonymity; those who wish to stay truly anonymous should use a VPN or at least a portable version of the TOR browser so that they can conceal their IP address and digital trail.