By RICK HAYES firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — MT. VERNON — Tips provided to the Jefferson County Crime Stoppers led to 18 arrests and 20 cases solved in 2013, according to statistics provided by the organization.
Those tips led to the recovery of $13,310 in stolen property, and the organization paid out $1,225 in rewards as a result of tips being provided to the Crime Stoppers hotline.
Since the organization was organized, there have been 274 arrests made, resulting in the closure of 459 cases, and nearly $1 million of stolen property recovered.
"I think we have to go back to the initiation of some of these programs we've put together like the video in the courthouse, and our quarterly Watchdog newspaper," said the organization's president Richard Endsley. "I think the advertising and the publicity out in the open have helped and have given people interest in keeping an eye on crime."
Since the inception of the Watchdog Quarterly, the Crime Stoppers has received nearly 50 tips from the public and several arrests. The Quarterly features photographs of criminals who are wanted for various offenses.
Just this past weekend, the Mt. Vernon Police Department was able to make a number of arrests as a result of two residential burglaries in the city. In both cases, citizen tips led to the apprehension of the suspects involved in the crimes.
"Again, I think it goes back to the fact that people recognize there is a valuable tool in Crime Stoppers. Citizens are more willing to give tips which can lead to convictions," Endsley said, in complementing the public and police.
"I have to give our police department a lot of the credit," Endsley said, adding, "At the same time, people who know about this avenue (providing tips) can be given rewards for information, and at the same time, they help to deter crime."
Tips don't always lead to arrests, but Endsley said it's important for the public to stay involved.
"The information is there for police if tips are provided. Maybe that information could lead to an arrest down the road or maybe even correlate to another case that police couldn't recover information and/or evidence," Endsley said.
At the end of the third quarter, Crime Stoppers tips led to seven arrests and solved 10 cases. Police recovered $2,520 and the organization paid out $400 in public tips.
"We've got a good board right now," Endsley said. "They are serious about stopping crime in Mt. Vernon and Jefferson County. The board has brought some good ideas to the table, and the public has taken notice through our publications that they are a very important part of what we do."