HOW IT ALL STARTED WITH AN IDEA FROM ONE MAN
young college student, Michael Carmen, was shot to death during a robbery at an
Albuquerque, New Mexico gas station in July 1976, Detective Greg MacAleese had
no idea who was responsible for the killing. No witnesses came forward and it
appeared the senseless and brutal shotgun slaying would remain a mystery.
who worked for a newspaper before joining the Albuquerque Police Department,
knew something innovative would be necessary to encourage the public to get
involved and help solve the murder.
conceived the idea of producing a video re-enactment of the homicide,
guaranteed anonymity for anyone who was willing to call him with information
and put up a reward from his own pocket to encourage someone to provide a lead
that would help identify those responsible for the murder of Carmen.
almost unnecessary to take such extraordinary steps to solve the killing of
Carmen. It was a case that should have outraged the community and brought forth
only two weeks away from getting married and had taken an extra shift at the
gas station to give a co-worker the night off. When police responded to an
emergency call they found Carmen gravely wounded. He's been shot in the abdomen
at point blank range with a 12-gauge shotgun.
medical staff kept him alive for four hours and during that time he tried to
tell detectives who were responsible, but he just didn't have the strength to
form the words.
time Albuquerque had one of the highest per capita crime rates in the country
and people were afraid to help the police.
plan to identify those responsible for killing Carmen worked. Within a few
hours after the recreation of the murder was broadcast on television station
KOAT, he received a phone call. The video image had triggered the memory of a
person who heard a loud bang in the vicinity of the gas bar and then saw a car
driving off. The caller told MacAleese the vehicle belonged to a resident in a
nearby apartment complex.
investigation MacAleese and a team of detectives arrested two men within 72
hours and charged them with the murder of Carmen and a string of armed
received other calls following the reenactment, including one that allowed
police to solve the rape of a young woman. Realizing that this type of program
might be useful in fighting crime, MacAleese convinced the Albuquerque Police
Department to allow a group of citizens to establish the first Crime Stoppers
program. For his efforts Detective MacAleese was named one of the people in the
1970's that changed the face of the United States and was also named the
country's Police officer of the Year. It's also interesting to note that since
adopting Crime Stoppers Albuquerque's crime rate has dropped significantly and
no longer is ranked in the list of 20 cities with the highest per capita crime
Crime Stoppers has now developed into an
International corporation that now reaches around the world.