The D.C. Police Department yesterday announced the beginning of a 24-hour hotline to which local citizens can call and volunteer information to help solve city crimes.

The program, called "Crime Solvers," while new to the District of Columbia, is already in existence in Montgomery, Fairfax and Prince George's counties. At 5:30 p.m. three days a week, local television station WJLA, Channel 7, telecasts a crime of the week in which viewers are encouraged to call in information. The District of Columbia now will participate in this program, police said.

At a meeting yesterday attended by nearly 100 residents and business leaders at the D.C. Police Headquarters, police explained that those with information about crimes can call a hotline number, and will be given an identifying number to protect their anonymity. If the information leads to the arrest and conviction of criminals, the caller can receive a reward up to $1,000.

"This is not a police program, this is a citywide program of cooperation between police and the city," said D.C. Inspector James Shugart of the "Crime Solvers" program in effect nationally in 80 jurisdictions and 32 states. "A lot of people see a lot of things and if they tie two and two together about a certain crime that happened in a certain area, or a description of a person being sought in connection with a felony, then they can call this number."

As of yesterday, police had not yet designated a number for people to call.