Any person (including the criminal himself) who may have significantly useful information about any crime or illegal activity (regardless of how small) that has occurred in the past, is occurring in the present, or will or may occur in the future, should be entitled to receive financial compensation from the government if they are the first or among the first to inform the government (such as the police or other proper authority) of such significantly useful information. Information qualifying for compensation should naturally be truthful but critical in helping lead authorities to the party or parties responsible for the crime or illegal activity. Of course, the actual amount to which any individual should be compensated for turning over such information to the authorities would depend heavily on the usefulness and timeliness of the information in finding and bringing the criminal(s) to justice.
Informants would be compensated quickly by the government (generally within 3 months of a conviction) and the criminal would then work to repay the government for these expenses. Quick and adequate compensation to informants is important to assure the continue flow of information to law enforcement authorities.
A rule of thumb may be that an informant or informants would earn or split 10% of the direct costs of the crime in which the informant’s information proved critically valuable or $100 minimum, whichever amount is greater.
Of course, if criminals inform on themselves, they would also get this 10% reward amount, but they would be responsible for paying 100% of the cost of the crime. Essentially, they would get a 10% discount if they informed on themselves. They would also get perhaps a significantly reduced charge for court/administrative costs, as well.
Police and all other kinds of law enforcement agencies should be obligated to keep all information confidential and concealed from all people not directly working on a case. This should be the standard procedure unless the informant himself agrees to reveal any of this information to the public, certain organizations, or individual people not working on the case. Law enforcement agencies who fail to absolutely follow these rules should be heavily punished and should be liable for any negative activity occurring to the informant as a result of information that was leaked by the agency and should compensate the victim accordingly. Protection should be provided to any informant who is at significant risk.
People who submit information anonymously to law enforcement forfeit their rights to the entire potential reward money. This would be because the government would bear a greater risk when basing actions (i.e. prosecutions) on anonymous information. Information would be considered anonymous if the government agency to which the information was given does not know the identity of the individual(s) submitting the information. As a matter of practice, the identity of individuals who submit information to law enforcement would be kept private and away from the public. This fact should remove most reasons for the anonymous submission of information.
If anonymous submitters change their mind after they have submitted the information, they may petition the law enforcement agency for a portion (perhaps 50%) of the reward money by providing proof that they were, if fact, the ones that originally submitted the anonymous information.
People, especially older retirees for exercise and anti-boredom reasons, should volunteer or be paid a small amount to patrol residential and industrial areas and look for law violations, especially minor ones such as littering, illegal sign or flier postings, excessive or overgrown vegetation, esp. near streets or sidewalks if vegetation blocks, hampers, or if it in someway interrupts or interferes with normal usage of the street or sidewalks. These volunteers should also note abandoned or long term storage of objects such as cars or boats that are in public view, general disrepair of properties such as fences, windows, etc, broken streets, curbs, and sidewalks, public lighting repairs, etc. These volunteers should also note graffiti and other forms of vandalism. The jobs of these volunteers would include documenting the violation and filing a report of the problem with the appropriate local government agency. It should be their job to detect and report all early signs of urban decay while it would be the local authority’s job to enforce compliance with the laws and to insure that problems are taken care of. Volunteers should be encouraged to patrol outside of their own neighborhoods.