Get Rewarded for Being a Good Citizen

by Kay Lynn

The other day my co-worker recounted his recent experience catching a vandal spray painting graffiti in his neighborhood.  Not only was he happy to have the person responsible for repeated bouts of tagging away from his home, but there was a side benefit.

He found out about an initiative in San Diego called the “Spray and Pay Graffiti Rewards Program” that will pay up to $500 for information that leads to the conviction of the suspect.  He has to apply and it can take up to a year to receive, but it is nice to be rewarded for something he would have done anyway.


It made me wonder what other programs are other that reward citizens for stepping up and doing their civic duty.  I found a few results with Google.

Crime Stoppers

Crime Stoppers is an international organization with local organizations. Their mission is to help the community be safer with a way for people to anonymously provide information about crimes.  The payoff is up to $1,000 for information that helps solve the case.

Sewer Overflow

The city of Raleigh, NC rewards the first person to report a sanitary sewer overflow with $50.  It’s cheaper to pay this amount than large fines and cleanup for environmental damage.

Illegal Dumping

The city of Anderson, CA came up with results for a $500 reward per case of illegal dumping.  It requires the arrest and conviction of the person responsible.  Apparently it was successful the first two year trial and extended for another two.

Good Behavior

In Park Ridge, IL the cops are handing out gift certificates instead of tickets…sometimes.  If you’re caught behaving exceptionally well the reward is a gift certificate to a local business.  It’s part of the police community outreach in this city.


Many cities partner with enabling residents to earn points based on their amount of recycling.  You don’t have to live in one of these cities to take advantage of this site.  I’ve earned over 1,000 points good for merchandise, coupons and more just by participating in their fun, educational activities.

These are just a few of the interesting programs out there.  Does your city have reward programs for citizens?  Have you ever received a reward?

Photo: Some rights reserved by murdelta

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First Gen American October 28, 2011 at 8:36 am

I would love it if my town had an illegal dumping reward. I have a little wooded trail behind my house and there are always people dumping appliances there. It’s really a shame that city dumps charge money to take away appliances now as I think it would be a cleaner place if the town had a free place to put stuff.

SB @ One Cent At A Time October 28, 2011 at 8:42 am

Kay this is interesting article. I have a few CDs at home which I was trying to get rid of, now I have some purpose.

Aloysa October 28, 2011 at 11:05 am

We won’t get paid for any of the above. But it doesn’t matter really, being a good citizen is not about just being paid for reporting something illegal. Right? 🙂 Love your blog design!

stephie October 28, 2011 at 11:54 am

Great article! Personally I wish people would be able to step up and not think they deserve something in return. I witnessed a crime and sat there watching while waiting for the cops. Instead of just looking away, I made sure it was taken care of. Thats all the thanks I needed 🙂

Financial Samurai October 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

I wish SF had a spray and pay system! We have a, “one love, let anybody do everything, even without ownership” system.

PKamp3 October 29, 2011 at 1:06 pm

“Good Behavior” – that’s a good one, but in my mind I’m imagining it going horribly wrong. In my mind a police officer tries to pull someone over to reward them and they run away.

Congrats to your friend! Two birds, one stone.

Robin G October 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Wow, interesting. Especially the good behavior gift certificate that police are giving out. That’d be quite interesting to have a cop randomly hand me a gift certificate for being good!

Enter my giveaway at:

shanendoah@The Dog Ate My Wallet October 30, 2011 at 5:40 pm

We’ve received “thank you”s from our mail carrier for turning in stolen mail (mostly junk mail, but not completely) that was dumped at the end of our dead end street, and then again when someone decided to dump stolen mail in our mailbox. No reward, but every bit of information helps them find the thieves.

Cherleen @ The College Investor October 31, 2011 at 2:14 am

It is always good to see rewards awarded to good citizens. But I hope people will keep observing good behavior, with or without the rewards. Surely, this society will be a better place to live in.

Kay Lynn October 31, 2011 at 8:27 pm

@First Gen American, that’s a bummer that people are dumping their old appliances near you. I wonder how much the price of going to the dump contributes to illegal dumping?
@Aloysa, I agree that good citizens should do these things anyway but it’s nice to get rewarded for doing the right thing. Thanks for noticing the new design.
@Stephie, thank you for stepping up. More of us need to care enough to do the right thing!
@Financial Samurai, yes SF is a little to easygoing about some things.
@ PKamp3 and @Robin, that reward blew me away. Police community relations must have been pretty bad to need this type of program.
@Shanendoah, how horrible that someone was stealing mail. I hope they caught the thieves!
@Cherleen, I think people do the right thing most of the time.

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