Lawmen like the new Crime Stoppers - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lawmen like the new Crime Stoppers

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –   Better technology is helping the Crime Stoppers program catch more criminals. The anonymous phone tip line now provides vital information to investigators more quickly.

That can make big difference in helping people take back their neighborhoods.

CRIME STOPPERS is a non profit organization run by volunteers who want to get criminals off their streets. The hotline used to be just an answering machine, but now it's answered by a person around the clock, seven days a week, and the information is immediately relayed to law enforcement officers. And they say it's working.

Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Captain Craig Dodd gets updates from CRIMESTOPPERS on his blackberry. "Crime stoppers is actually very essential to us," Dodd said.

So essential that the City of Albany put $12,000 in its budget to make sure CRIMESTOPPERS kept answering.

 "As soon as the tip goes in to CRIMESTOPPERS answering service, they immediately send the message back out to the local law enforcement agencies through their blackberries. They get the tip right away," said CRIMESTOPPERS Secretary Judy Randle.

And law enforcement says it is working because people in the community are calling.

This year CRIMESTOPPERS is averaging more than 200 calls a month, double the number of calls from 2008. And the organization says CRIMESTOPPERS is being credited with closing at least 8 cases per month, because of people wanting to take back our streets.

"I think they are just fed up. Enough is enough and we just want to encourage people if they see something, to says something," Randle said.

Law enforcement says the community help is needed now more than ever, because of budget cutbacks. But CRIMESTOPPERS says their success and growth is costing more.

"As we get more and more phone calls, our answering service bill is higher. We are paying out more rewards, and we need to raise more funds to pay those rewards," Randle said.

The CRIMESTOPPERS board decides which tips will receive cash rewards, and they say more rewards are being earned. So the organization says they need donations to keep the anonymous tip line fighting crime.

Law enforcement says CRIMESTOPPERS has been very important in getting information on gangs in Albany. When you call CRIMESTOPPERS you don't give any personal information, and Investigators say lots of people afraid of retaliation are giving that information through CRIMESTOPPERS.

CRIMESTOPPERS is funded mostly through contributions. They'll hold a golf fundraiser September 17th at Grand Island.

  • Here's how CrimeStoppers works

If you are aware of a crime, call the 24 hour tip line at 229-436-TIPS. Give the operator the tip without revealing your name. You will get a confidential reference number.

Call back in a few weeks to check the status of your tip by giving the number. If your tip leads to an arrest, you will be told where to pick up your cash.

  • Click HERE to visit the local Crimestoppers web site

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